Mutations in the cytosolic 5′ nucleotidase II (NT5C2) gene drive resistance to thiopurine chemotherapy in relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Mechanistically, NT5C2 mutant proteins have increased nucleotidase activity as a result of altered activating and autoregulatory switch-off mechanisms. Leukemias with NT5C2 mutations are chemoresistant to 6-mercaptopurine yet show impaired proliferation and self-renewal. Direct targeting of NT5C2 or inhibition of compensatory pathways active in NT5C2 mutant cells may antagonize the emergence of NT5C2 mutant clones driving resistance and relapse in ALL.

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