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Title: Pentostatin  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Leukemia, Purine analogue, Chemotherapy, Cell-cycle nonspecific antineoplastic agents, Hazardous drugs
Collection: Nucleosides, Purine Antagonists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Trade names Nipent
  • US: D (Evidence of risk)
Legal status
Routes of
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability n/a
Protein binding 4%
Metabolism Hepatic, minor
Biological half-life 2.6 to 16 hours, mean 5.7 hours
CAS Registry Number  YesY
ATC code L01
PubChem CID:
DrugBank  YesY
ChemSpider  YesY
Chemical data
Formula C11H16N4O4
Molecular mass


Pentostatin (or deoxycoformycin, trade name Nipent, manufactured by SuperGen) is an anticancer chemotherapeutic drug.[1]


It is classified as a purine analog, which is a type of antimetabolite.

It mimics the nucleoside adenosine and thus inhibits the enzyme adenosine deaminase, interfering with the cell's ability to process DNA.[2]

Cancer cells generally divide more often than healthy cells; DNA is highly involved in cell division (mitosis) and drugs which target DNA-related processes are therefore more toxic to cancer cells than healthy cells.


Pentostatin is used to treat hairy cell leukemia.[3] It is given by intravenous infusion once every two weeks for three to six months.

Additionally, pentostatin has been used to treat steroid-refractory acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease.[4]

Pentostatin is also used in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who have relapsed.


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