In vitro and in vivo effects of 2'-deoxycoformycin (Pentostatin) on tumour cells from human γδ+ T-cell malignancies

Donatella Aldinucci, Dalisa Poletto, Vittorina Zagonel, Maurizio Rupolo, Massimo Degan, Paola Nanni, Valter Gattei, Antonio Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatosplenic γδ+ T-cell lymphoma represents a rare neoplasm of post-thymic phenotype, characterized by an aggressive clinical course and a poor response to conventional chemotherapy. In the present study, we have examined the cytotoxic effects of the purine analogue 2'-deoxycoformycin (dCF) on cultured mononuclear cells and purified γδ+ tumour cells from bone marrow or peripheral blood of four patients with hepatosplenic γδ+ T-cell lymphoma. At a concentration of 10 μM, dCF, in the presence of 2'-deoxyadenosine (dAdo), displayed an early and selective cytotoxic effect on γδ+ T cells. After 48 h of in vitro exposure to dCF the absolute number of viable CD3+/γδ+ tumour T cells was reduced by more than 90% in all samples with respect to control cultures, with absolute counts of viable CD3+/αβ+ lymphocytes being reduced only by 6-40% of the initial cell input. Analysis of cultures after 5 d of exposure to dCF plus dAdo revealed the persistence of normal CD3+/αβ+ T cells, which accounted, however, for only 20-25% of the initial cell input. Accordingly, the combination of dCF (10-100 μM) plus dAdo was able to induce a dose-dependent inhibition of clonogenic growth and [3H]-thymidine incorporation in purified CD3+/CD4-/CD8- γδ+ tumour cells. We also report that one patient with hepatosplenic γδ+ T-cell lymphoma in terminal leukaemic, phase showed a striking haematological response to single-agent dCF given as fourth-line treatment. In particular, the selective clearance of γδ+ tumour T cells in peripheral blood and bone marrow was observed starting after the second course of treatment. Our results suggest that dCF may represent a potentially active drug for the management of this aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • 2'-deoxycoformycin
  • Cytotoxic effects
  • Haematological response
  • Hepatosplenic γδ T-cell lymphomas
  • Pentostatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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