Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Degradation of the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil on medical-grade silver surfaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Helene Kjær Risinggård, Simon Cooil, Federico Mazzola, Di Hu, Marit Kjærvik, Elise Ramleth Østli, Nilesh Patil, Alexei Preobrajenski, D. Andrew Evans, Dag W. Breiby, Thuat T. Trinh, Justin W. Wells

School/Research organisations


The degradation of the chemotherapy drug 5-Fluorouracil by a non-pristine metal surfaces is studied. Using Density Functional Theory, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy we show that the drug is entirely degraded by medical-grade silver surfaces, already at body temperature, and that all of the fluorine has left the molecule, presumably as HF. Remarkably, this degradation is even more severe than that reported previously for 5-Fluorouracil on a pristine monocrystalline silver surface (in which case 80% of the drug reacted at body temperature) Mazzola et al. (2015).

We conclude that the observed reaction is due to a reaction pathway, driven by H to F attraction between molecules on the surface, which results in the direct formation of HF; a pathway which is favoured when competing pathways involving reactive Ag surface sites are made unavailable by environmental contamination. Our measurements indicate that realistically cleaned, non-pristine silver alloys, which are typically used in medical applications, can result in severe degradation of 5-Fluorouracil, with the release of HF – a finding which may have important implications for the handling of chemotherapy drugs.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1219
JournalApplied Surface Science
Early online date27 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • Surface science, Chemotherapy, DFT, Photoemission, Fluorouracil, Silver

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Direct observation of a uniaxial stress-driven Lifshitz transition in Sr2RuO4

    Sunko, V., Morales, E. A., Marković, I., Barber, M. E., Milosavljević, D., Mazzola, F., Sokolov, D. A., Kikugawa, N., Cacho, C., Dudin, P., Rosner, H., Hicks, C. W., King, P. D. C. & Mackenzie, A. P., 19 Aug 2019, In : npj Quantum Materials. 4, 7 p., 46.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A general route to form topologically-protected surface and bulk Dirac fermions along high-symmetry lines

    Clark, O. J., Mazzola, F., Markovic, I., Riley, J. M., Feng, J., Yang, B-J., Sumida, K., Okuda, T., Fujii, J., Vobornik, I., Kim, T. K., Okawa, K., Sasagawa, T., Bahramy, M. S. & King, P., 11 Mar 2019, In : Electronic Structure. 1, 1, 13 p., 014002.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Orbital- and kz-selective hybridisation of Se 4p and Ti 3d states in the charge density wave phase of TiSe2

    Watson, M. D., Clark, O. J., Mazzola, F., Markovic, I., Sunko, V., Kim, T. K., Rossnagel, K. & King, P. D., 22 Feb 2019, In : Physical Review Letters. 122, 7, 6 p., 076404.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  4. Dual quantum confinement and anisotropic spin splitting in the multi-valley semimetal PtSe2

    Clark, O. J., Mazzola, F., Feng, J., Sunko, V., Marković, I., Bawden, L., Kim, T. K., King, P. D. & Bahramy, M. S., Jan 2019, In : Physical Review B. 99, 4, 7 p., 045438.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Itinerant ferromagnetism of the Pd-terminated polar surface of PdCoO2

    Mazzola, F., Sunko, V., Khim, S., Rosner, H., Kushwaha, P., Clark, O. J., Bawden, L., Marković, I., Kim, T. K., Hoesch, M., Mackenzie, A. P. & King, P. D. C., 18 Dec 2018, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 115, 51, p. 12956-12960 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Electrochemical properties of composite cathodes using Sm doped layered perovskite for intermediate temperature-operating solid oxide fuel cell

    Baek, S-W., Azad, A. K., Irvine, J. T. S., Choi, W. S., Kang, H. & Kim, J. H., 28 Feb 2018, In : Applied Surface Science. 432, B, p. 272-277

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Nanocrystalline CeO2-δ coated β-MnO2 nanorods with enhanced oxygen transfer property

    Huang, X., Zhao, G., Chang, Y., Wang, G. & Irvine, J. T. S., 15 May 2018, In : Applied Surface Science. 440, p. 20-28

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Electrodeposition of gold templated by patterned thiol monolayers

    She, Z., Di Falco, A., Hähner, G. & Buck, M., 15 Jun 2016, In : Applied Surface Science. 373, p. 51-60

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Evaluation of residual stress in sputtered tantalum thin-film

    Al-Masha'al, A., Bunting, A. & Cheung, R., 15 May 2016, In : Applied Surface Science. 371, p. 571-575 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 251647562