Clinical data
Trade names Nipent
AHFS/ Monograph
MedlinePlus a692004
  • US: D (Evidence of risk)
Routes of
ATC code L01XX08 (WHO)
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability n/a
Protein binding 4%
Metabolism Hepatic, minor
Biological half-life 2.6 to 16 hours, mean 5.7 hours
CAS Number 53910-25-1 YesY
PubChem (CID) 439693
DrugBank DB00552 YesY
ChemSpider 388759 YesY
UNII 395575MZO7 YesY
KEGG D00155 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.164.991
Chemical and physical data
Formula C11H16N4O4
Molar mass 268.269 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image

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.


  1. Kay NE, Geyer SM, Call TG, et al. (January 2007). "Combination chemoimmunotherapy with pentostatin, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab shows significant clinical activity with low accompanying toxicity in previously untreated B chronic lymphocytic leukemia". Blood. 109 (2): 405–11. doi:10.1182/blood-2006-07-033274. PMC 1785105Freely accessible. PMID 17008537.
  2. Sauter C, Lamanna N, Weiss MA (September 2008). "Pentostatin in chronic lymphocytic leukemia". Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 4 (9): 1217–22. doi:10.1517/17425255.4.9.1217. PMID 18721115.
  3. Cannon T, Mobarek D, Wegge J, Tabbara IA (October 2008). "Hairy cell leukemia: current concepts". Cancer Invest. 26 (8): 860–5. doi:10.1080/07357900801965034. PMID 18798068.
  4. Bolaños-Meade J, Jacobsohn DA, Margolis J, Ogden A, Wientjes MG, Byrd JC, Lucas DM, Anders V, Phelps M, Grever MR, Vogelsang GB (April 2005). "Pentostatin in steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease". J Clin Onc. 23 (12): 2661–8. doi:10.1200/JCO.2005.06.130. PMID 15837980.

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