Cancer Home > Leukemia and 6-MP

Available by prescription only, mercaptopurine (Purinethol®) is a chemotherapy medication that is reserved for use in people who have a type of blood and bone marrow cancer called acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL). Mercaptopurine comes in the form of a tablet that is taken once daily.
Also known as 6-mercaptopurine or simply 6-MP, mercaptopurine helps treat leukemia by interfering with cell division, which helps prevent cancer cells from growing and multiplying.
Mercaptopurine is specifically approved for the maintenance treatment of ALL, in combination with other treatments. It is not effective in preventing ALL from spreading to the central nervous system and will not treat central nervous system leukemia.
(Click What Is Mercaptopurine Used For? for more in-depth information on using this drug for cancer treatment. This article also explains whether it is prescribed for off-label uses.)
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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