Leukemic B cells from a majority of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) enter the cell cycle upon stimulation in vitro with loxoribine, a potent 7,8-disubstituted guanine ribonucleoside immunostimulant. In the absence of added costimulants, a proportion of these cells become activated and undergo DNA synthesis and mitosis accompanied by a marked increase in expression of an array of cell surface activation antigens. The resultant activated B-CLL cells exhibit greatly enhanced sensitivity to cycle-active cytotoxic drugs. This approach may be of potential value in the therapy of CLL.

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