Research Article

Bacterial glutaminase in treatment of acute leukaemia.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 29 May 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:1317
  1. A S Spiers,
  2. H E Wade


    A glutaminase-asparaginase enzyme from Achromobacter sp has antitumour activity in vitro and in animals. Glutaminase was administered in doses of 3500-20 000 IU/m2 body surface area/day to six patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and three patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The enzyme had a blood half life of 80 minutes but depletion of blood glutamine persisted for 12 hours after single doses. Seven patients, including four (two with AML and two with ALL) resistant to asparaginase, received repeated doses of glutaminase. Antileukaemic effects were observed in all seven; one elderly patient developed metabolic acidosis. Study of this new antileukaemic agent in patients with acute leukaemia at an earlier stage of their disease is now justified.