Expert opinion on drug metabolism & toxicology

Pentostatin in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

PMID 18721115


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a disease that typically afflicts older individuals with a median age of diagnosis in the eighth decade of life for which treatments available now are not curative. Although purine analogue based combinations produce complete responses (CRs) in many patients, the use of these combinations has been limited by toxicity including myelosuppression and an increased risk of infectious complications. To identify the role of pentostatin, a specific inhibitor of adenosine deaminase (ADA), in the treatment of CLL. We compare pentostatin to other purine analogues, most notably fludarabine, with regard to safety and efficacy. Finally, we review the use of pentostatin in other diseases. The scope of this review encompasses the history of treatment for CLL as well as the genesis of modern combination chemoimmunotherapy and the advantages of pentostatin within such a treatment program. Combination therapy with pentostatin seems to provide response frequencies comparable to fludarabine based combinations but with less toxicity and with greater ease of administration.