Which medications in the drug class Purine Analogues are used in the treatment of Hairy Cell Leukemia?

Updated: Sep 16, 2018
  • Author: Emmanuel C Besa, MD; Chief Editor: Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP, FACP  more...
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Purine Analogues

Gibbett and coworkers observed that patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) were deficient in the purine catabolic enzyme adenosine deaminase. This deficiency causes intracellular accumulation of deoxyadenosine triphosphate and results in lymphocytotoxicity. Purine analogues mimic this condition by irreversibly binding to adenosine deaminase or by fostering resistance to deamination in the purine salvage pathway.

Cladribine or 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (Leustatin)

Synthetic antineoplastic agent for continuous IV infusion. The enzyme deoxycytidine kinase phosphorylates this compound into active 5'-triphosphate derivative. This, in turn, breaks DNA strands, inhibits DNA synthesis, disrupts cell metabolism, and causes death to resting and dividing cells.

Most active among the purine analogues in the treatment of hairy cell leukemia. Has a 94% overall response and 84% complete response in hairy cell leukemia.

Patients whose disease does not respond to the initial regimen likely will not have a response to retreatment.

Pentostatin or 2-deoxycoformycin (Nipent)

Approved by the FDA for hairy cell leukemia but is less active than 2-CDA for this disease. Treatment results in a 79% overall response rate and a 64% complete response rate in patients with hairy cell leukemia. Response rates (CR + PR) of more than 90% have been reported.

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