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Br J Haematol. 1982 Apr;50(4):627-36.

Deoxycoformycin-induced response in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: deoxyadenosine toxicity in non-replicating lymphocytes.


The occurrence of severe immunodeficiency disease in children with inherited adenosine deaminase deficiency, and reports of remission induction in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia with the adenosine deaminase inhibitor deoxycoformycin, prompted a study of the effects of deoxyadenosine on resting peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemic (CLL) lymphocytes in short-term culture. In the presence of an inhibitor of adenosine deaminase, micromolar concentrations of dAdo caused elevation of deoxyadenosine-5'-triphosphate (dATP) pools and in vitro lysis of non-dividing PBL and CLL lymphocytes. This death of non-replicating cells indicates a mechanism of deoxyadenosine toxicity independent of DNA replication and ribonucleotide reductase inhibition. Similar changes occurred in vivo in a patient with advanced CLL who responded to treatment with deoxycoformycin, 0.1 mg/kg, days 1-5, with a fall in the WCC from 102.0 x 10(9)/1 to 6.8 x 10(9)/l over 21 d. Therapeutic blockade of deoxyadenosine catabolism deserves further investigation both in the treatment of lymphoproliferative disease and as a method lympholytic immunosuppression.

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