Conversion of a stem cell leukemia from a T-lymphoid to a myeloid phenotype induced by the adenosine deaminase inhibitor 2'-deoxycoformycin

M. S. Hershfield, J. Kurtzberg, E. Harden, J. O. Moore, J. Whang-Peng, B. F. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Selective failure of lymphoid development occurs in genetic deficiency of adenosine deaminase (ADA). We examined the in vivo effects of a potent inhibitor of ADA, 2'-deoxycoformycin, which was used to treat a patient with refractory acute leukemia. Unexpectedly, within 7 days of starting treatment, the leukemic phenotype underwent complete conversion from T lymphoblastic to promyelocytic, with kinetics that suggested a precursor-product relationship between the two cell populations. Pretreatment of T lymphoblasts and posttreatment of promyelocytes had the same abnormal karyotype. Upon culture in vitro, the former transformed spontaneously over several weeks into mature myeloid cells. We conclude that the leukemia arose from a multipotent stem cell capable of both lymphoid and myeloid differentiation. Effects of ADA inhibition on leukemia cells during treatment included expansion of the deoxyadenosine nucleotide pool and accumulation of S-adenosylhomocysteine, a potent inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine-dependent methylation. The influence of these changes on the leukemic phenotype is discussed in terms of (i) selective cytotoxicity to T lymphoblasts, which accumulated deoxyadenosine nucleotides more efficiently than did the patient's promyelocytes during in vitro incubation with deoxycoformycin plus deoxyadenosine, and (ii) induction of an altered program of differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - Mar 22 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Conversion of a stem cell leukemia from a T-lymphoid to a myeloid phenotype induced by the adenosine deaminase inhibitor 2'-deoxycoformycin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this