Research Papers:

A thymidylate synthase ternary complex-specific antibody, FTS, permits functional monitoring of fluoropyrimidines dosing

Kalpesh Patel, Sashidhar R. Yerram, Nilofer A. Azad and Scott E. Kern _

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Oncotarget. 2012; 3:678-685. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.554

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Kalpesh Patel1, Sashidhar R. Yerram1, Nilofer A. Azad1 and Scott E. Kern1

1 Department of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Scott E. Kern, email:

Keywords: Ternary complex, thymidylate synthase, drug adduct, drug adduct-specific antibody, ternary complex-specific antibody, FTS

Received: July 16, 2012, Accepted: July 20, 2012, Published: July 22, 2012


5-Fluorouracil (5FU) and similar fluoropyrimidines induce covalent modification of thymidylate synthase (TS) and inhibit its activity. They are often used to treat solid cancers, but drug resistance and toxicity are drawbacks. Therefore, there is an unmet need for a functional assay to quantify fluorouracil activity in tissues, so as to individually tailor dosing. It is cumbersome to separately quantify unmodified and 5FU-modified TS using currently available commercial anti-TS antibodies because they recognize both forms. We report here the first monoclonal antibody (FTS) specific to 5FU-modified TS. By immunoblot assay, the FTS antibody specifically recognizes modified TS in a dose-dependent manner in 5FU-treated cells, in cancer xenograft tissues of 5FU-treated mice, and in the murine tissues. In the same assay, the antibody is nonreactive with unmodified TS in untreated or treated cells and tissues. Speculatively, a high-throughput assay could be enabled by pairing anti-TS antibodies of two specificities, one recognizing only modified TS and another recognizing both forms, to structurally quantify the TS-inhibiting effect of fluorouracil at a cellular or tissue level without requiring prior protein separation. Such a development might aid preclinical analytic studies or make practical the individual tailoring of dosing.

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