Association of severe and fatal infections and treatment with pentostatin

P. J. O'Dwyer, A. S D Spiers, S. Marsoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pentostatin (dCF), an inhibitor of adenosine deaminase, has shown activity in the treatment of several lymphoid malignancies, even in the earliest phase I trials. An analysis of the first 300 patients treated in such trials shows a high incidence of severe infection (8%) during the relatively brief period of treatment. Of 24 patients in whom infection was diagnosed, 17 had no evidence of myelosuppression. The causative organisms included viruses, fungi, and bacteria of both high and low pathogenicity. Two-thirds of the infections were fatal. It is suggested that dCF may cause a syndrome similar to severe combined immunodeficiency during the course of treatment. Patients treated with dCF who show evidence of infection, even in the absence of neutropenia, should receive vigorous and rapid diagnostic evaluation to establish the cause of their infection, and aggressive treatment of suspected organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1120
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Treatment Reports
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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