Arginine deiminase inhibits proliferation of human leukemia cells more potently than asparaginase by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis

Leukemia. 2000 May;14(5):826-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2401763.


L-Asparaginase is used for the treatment of acute leukemias, but is sometimes ineffective or associated with severe side-effects. We report here that the enzyme arginine deiminase is approximately 100-fold more potent than L-asparaginase in inhibiting the proliferation of cultured human lymphatic leukemia cell lines while it appears to be less effective in leukemia cells of myeloid origin. The inhibition of cell proliferation involves cell growth arrest in the G1- and/or S-phase and eventually apoptotic cell death. Our results suggest the possibility of a future use of arginine deiminase for the therapy of leukemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Asparaginase / toxicity*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Child
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydrolases / isolation & purification
  • Hydrolases / toxicity*
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Leukemia, B-Cell
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Mycoplasma / enzymology
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / blood
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Hydrolases
  • Asparaginase
  • arginine deiminase