The functional evaluation of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and p53 was recently developed in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (B-CLL), a disease in which the response to DNA damage is frequently altered. We identified a novel biomarker of chemosensitivity based on the induction of DNA damage by the purine nucleoside analogues (PNA) fludarabine and 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (CdA). Using genome-wide expression profiling, it was observed that, in chemosensitive samples, PNA predominantly increased the expression of p53-dependent genes, among which PLK2 was the most highly activated at early time points. Conversely, in chemoresistant samples, p53-dependent and PLK2 responses were abolished. Using a quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction, we confirmed that PNA dose- and time-dependently increased PLK2 expression in chemosensitive but not chemoresistant B-CLL samples. Analysis of a larger cohort of B-CLL patients showed that cytotoxicity induced by PNA correlated well with PLK2 mRNA induction. Interestingly, we observed that failure to up-regulate PLK2 following PNA and chemoresistance were not strictly correlated with structural alterations in the TP53 gene. In conclusion, we propose that testing PLK2 activation after a 24-h incubation with PNA could be used to investigate the functional integrity of DNA damage-response pathways in B-CLL cells, and predict clinical sensitivity to these drugs.