Also Known As: Pentostatin, Deoxycoformycin

Pentostatin (Nipent, manufactured by SuperGen, San Ramon, CA, also deoxycoformycin) is an anticancer chemotherapeutic drug.

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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