Reviewed on 9/10/2021

Brand Name and Other Names: Nipent, DCF, 2Deoxycoformycin

Generic Name: Pentostatin

Drug Class: Antineoplastics, Antimetabolite

What Is Pentostatin Used For and How Does it Work?

Pentostatin is used to treat a certain type of cancer (hairy cell leukemia). It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. It is used off-label to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Pentostatin is available under the following different brand names: Nipent, DCF, and 2Deoxycoformycin.

What Are the Dosages of Pentostatin?

Dosages of Pentostatin:

Dosage Forms and Strengths

Powder for Injection

  • 10 mg/vial

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Hairy Cell Leukemia

Other Indications and Uses

Safety and efficacy not established in pediatric patients.


What is leukemia? See Answer

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Pentostatin?

Common side effects of Pentostatin include:

Less common side effects of pentostatin include:

Other side effects of pentostatin include:

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Pentostatin?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Pentostatin?


  • This medication contains pentostatin. Do not take Nipent, DCF, or 2Deoxycoformycin if you are allergic to pentostatin or any ingredients contained in this drug.

Black Box Warnings

  • The drug should be administered under the supervision of an experienced cancer chemotherapy physician in a facility equipped to diagnose and manage complications
  • Do not exceed recommended doses. Nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, central nervous system (CNS), and pulmonary toxicity occurred in phase 1 studies that used higher doses than recommended
  • Do not use with concurrent fludarabine because of increased risk of pulmonary toxicity


  • Hypersensitivity
  • Concomitant fludarabine: risk of fatal pulmonary toxicity
  • Relative: active infections

Effects of Drug Abuse

  • No information is available.

Short-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Pentostatin?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Pentostatin?"


Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Use pentostatin during pregnancy only in LIFE-THREATENING emergencies when no safer drug is available. There is positive evidence of human fetal risk.
  • It is not known if pentostatin is excreted in breast milk. Breastfeeding is not recommended while using pentostatin.


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