Various 5-substituted-2'-deoxyuridines (dUrd), including 5-ethyl,5-propyl-, 5-trifluoromethyl-, 5-hydroxymethyl-, 5-formyl-, 5-vinyl-, (E)-5-(2-chlorovinyl)-, (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-, 5-fluoro-, 5-chloro-, 5-bromo-, 5-iodo-, 5-cyano-, 5-thiocyano-, 5-nitro- and 5-amino-dUrd, were shown to be effective substrates for the thymidine (dThd) phosphorylase isolated from human blood platelets. Some of dUrd analogs, i.e. the highly potent and selective antiherpes agent (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-dUrd, were degraded more rapidly than the natural substrates, dUrd and dThd. All dUrd analogs were also readily catabolised by intact human blood platelets. The potent inhibitors of thymidine phosphorylase, 6-amino-thymine and 6-amino-5-bromo-uracil, strongly inhibited the phosphorolysis of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-dUrd by both purified enzyme and intact platelets.