Experimental evidence has indicated that T lymphoblasts are more sensitive to deoxynucleoside toxicity than are B lymphoblasts. These data have led to the use of purine enzyme inhibitors as selective chemotherapeutic drugs in the treatment of T cell malignancies ranging from T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia to cutaneous T cell lymphomas. We have compared the toxicities of 2'-deoxyadenosine, 2'-deoxyguanosine, and thymidine for T cell lines derived from patients with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia with those for mature T cell lines derived from patients with cutaneous T cell leukaemia/lymphoma. We have found that both deoxynucleosides are far less toxic to the mature T cell lies than to T lymphoblasts and that the mature cells accumulate much lower amounts of dATP and dGTP when exposed to deoxyadenosine and deoxyguanosine, respectively. Similar studies performed on peripheral blood cells from patients with T cell leukaemias of mature phenotype and on peripheral blood T cells demonstrate similar low amounts of deoxynucleotide accumulation. Measurements of the activities of several purine metabolizing enzymes that participate in deoxynucleoside phosphorylation or degradation do not reveal differences which would explain the toxicity of deoxynucleosides for immature, as compared to mature, T cells. We conclude that deoxynucleoside metabolism in leukaemic T cells varies with their degree of differentiation. These observations may be relevant to the design of chemotherapeutic regimes for T cell malignancies.
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View details for PubMedID 2996581