6-MP and Leukemia
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). It comes in the form of a tablet that is taken once daily. Mercaptopurine (also known as 6-mercaptopurine or simply 6-MP) works to 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.
(To learn more, click What Is Mercaptopurine Used For?. This full-length article discusses approved uses for this drug, as well as some unapproved uses.)