Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi


Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi
Accession Number

Erwinaze (asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi) contains an asparaginase specific enzyme derived from Erwinia chrysanthemi 4. Specifically, this L-asparaginase is a tetrameric enzyme consisting of four identical subunits, each having a molecular weight of about 35 kDa 4. The activity of Erwinaze is expressed in terms of International Units. It is an antineoplastic agent and was FDA approved in November 19, 2011 4.

Approved, Investigational
Biologic Classification
Protein Based Therapies
Other protein based therapies
Protein Structure
Protein Chemical Formula
Protein Average Weight
140000.0 Da
>Protein sequence for asparaginase (Erwinia chrysanthemi) monomer
Download FASTA Format
  • Asparaginase (Erwinia)
  • Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi
  • Crisantaspase
  • Erwinia asparaginase
  • Erwinia chrysanthemi
  • L-asparaginase (Erwinia)



Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi is for the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that have developed a hypersensitivity to E. coli-derivied asparaginase 4. It is a component of a multi-agent chemotherpeutic regimen 4 for the treatment of the aforementioned disease and is considered second- or third- line treatment in European and American protocols 1.

Associated Conditions
Contraindications & Blackbox Warnings
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Asparagine is ordinarily found incorporated into most endogenous proteins 6. In its absence however, protein synthesis is halted - which in turn also results in the inhibition of the RNA and DNA synthesis necessary for cellular proliferation 6.

One commonality between Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (especially the lymphoblastic form) is the absence of asparagine synthetase activity in the neoplastic cells associated with these conditions 6. These neoplastic cells are subsequently dependent upon exogenous asparagine for their proliferation 6.

The anti-neoplastic function of L-asparaginase is consequently a result of the sustained depletion of exogenous asparagine 6. In particular, Erwinia L-asparaginase catalyses the deamination of asparagine to aspartic acid and the release of an ammonia molecule 6.

In addition, asparaginase also demonstrates a significant glutaminase activity in which it is capable of catalyzing the deamination of glutamine to glutamate and the release of an ammonia molecule 6. Since glutamine may lead to alternative asparagine synthesis, the ability for asparaginase to facilitate glutamine depletion may complement asparagine depletion 6. The exact potential to such glutaminase activity, however, remains unknown 6.

Mechanism of action

Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi catalyzes the deamidation of asparagine to aspartic acid and ammonia, resulting in a reduction in circulating levels of exogenous asparagine in the plasma 4. The mechanism of action of Erwinia asparaginase is thought to be based on the inability of leukemic cells to synthesize asparagine due to lack of asparagine synthetase activity, resulting in cytotoxicity specific for leukemic cells that depend on an exogenous source of the amino acid asparagine for their protein metabolism and survival 4.


The absorption of Erwinia asparaginase is predominantly via denaturation followed by peptidase digestion within GI tract 7.

Volume of distribution

The volume of distribution for Erwinia asparaginase is 5 L/m2 7. The partitioning of Erwinia L-asparaginase between lymph and blood shows that this enzyme, in contrast to the E. coli derivative, does not penetrate the capillary endothelium well because negligible amounts are found in the lymph Label. Ultimately, although L-asparaginase is capable of penetrating through to the cerebrospinal fluid to a small degree 6 and is also found in limited quantities in lymph 6,Label, the drug subsequently seems to confine itself mainly to the blood compartment of man Label.

Protein binding

No specific information regarding protein binding has been developed at the moment 7. Nevertheless, with repeated use Erwinia asparaginase may be bound by specific antibodies and eliminated 6.


At the moment, conclusive data regarding the metabolism and elimination of asparaginase has not yet been developed 7,3

Route of elimination

Formally conclusive findings regarding the elimination of Erwinia asparaginase have unfortunately not yet been established. However, some studies posit that the drug may possibly be eliminated using the reticuloendothelial system 7.


The elimination half-life of Erwinia asparaginase administered via i.m. injection is 16 hours and follows first-order kinetics Label. Compared to E.coli-asparaginase, it has a lower half-life Label so higher and more frequent doses are necessary. Similarly, the half-life of Erwinia asparaginase after i.v. infusion is approximately 6.4 +/- 0.5 hours 6 and also follows first-order kinetics Label.


The clearance of Erwinia asparaginase is given as 3.4 mL/min/m2 7.

Adverse Effects
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Erwinia asparaginase is contraindicated in individuals who: (a) have a history of serious hypersensitivity reactions to Erwinia asparaginase, including anaphylaxis, (b) have a history of serious pancreatitis with prior L-asparaginase therapy, (c) have a history of serious thrombosis with prior L-asparaginase therapy, and (d) have a history of serious hemorrhagic events with prior L-asparaginase therapy. 4,Label

5% of patients in clinical trials have experienced grade 3 and 4 hypersensitivity reactions after being administered Erwinia asparaginase 4,Label.

4% of patients in clinical trials have experienced pancreatitis after using Erwinia asparaginase, where severe pancreatitis serves as a contraindication for continued use of Erwinia asparaginase 4,Label.

5% of patients in clinical trials using Erwinia asparaginase reported experiencing glucose intolerance that was in some cases irreversible 4,Label.

Serious thrombotic events like sagittal sinus thrombosis and pulmonary embolism have been reported with Erwinia asparaginase therapy 4,Label. After a 2 week course of Erwinia asparaginase therapy by i.m. administration, a majority of patients demonstrated decreased fibrinogen, protein C activity, and anti-thrombin III 4,Label.

The most common adverse reactions (incidence of 1% or greater) associated with Erwinia asparaginase treatment include systemic hypersensitivity, hyperglycemia, abnormal transaminase levels, fever, pancreatitis, local reactions, vomiting, nausea, thrombosis, hyperbilirubinemia, abdominal pain or discomfort, and diarrhea 4,Label.

Patients using Erwinia asparaginase may develop anti-drug antibodies to the medicine after repeated use 4,6. The presence of antibodies specific to Erwinia asparaginase is linked with a higher probability of hypersensitivity reactions in patients who are administered Erwinia asparaginase via i.v. infusion compared to i.m. administration 4.

There are no adequate studies of Erwinia asparaginase use in pregnant women 4,Label. This medication belongs in pregnancy category C and Erwinia asparaginase should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits justifies the potential risk to the fetus 4,Label.

It is not known whether Erwinia asparaginase is secreted in human milk, but the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Erwinia asparaginase means a decision must be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue Erwinia asparaginase therapy, taking into account the importance of this drug therapy to the mother 4,Label.

Clinical studies have administered Erwinia asparaginase to patients from ages 1 to 18 4.

The safety and efficacy of Erwinia asparaginase has not been studied in geriatric patients 4.

No long-term carcinogenicity studies in animals have been performed with Erwinia asparaginase 4. No studies that assess the mutagenic potential of Erwinia asparaginase have been performed either 4.

Fertility and early embryonic development studies in rats demonstrate asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi has no effect on male or female fertility when administered i.m. at doses of up to 2000 IU/kg (about 50% of the recommended human dose, after adjustment for total body surface area) every other day for a total of 35 doses 4. Data for males included decreased sperm count at doses in excess of 500 IU/kg (approximately 12% of the recommended human dose) 4.

Affected organisms
  • Humans and other mammals
Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available


Drug Interactions
This information should not be interpreted without the help of a healthcare provider. If you believe you are experiencing an interaction, contact a healthcare provider immediately. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist.
AllantoinThe therapeutic efficacy of Allantoin can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
CarbamazepineThe therapeutic efficacy of Carbamazepine can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
DantroleneThe therapeutic efficacy of Dantrolene can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
Darbepoetin alfaThe risk or severity of Thrombosis can be increased when Darbepoetin alfa is combined with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
DexamethasoneThe serum concentration of Dexamethasone can be increased when it is combined with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
EnzalutamideThe therapeutic efficacy of Enzalutamide can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
ErythropoietinThe risk or severity of Thrombosis can be increased when Erythropoietin is combined with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
EthotoinThe therapeutic efficacy of Ethotoin can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
FosphenytoinThe therapeutic efficacy of Fosphenytoin can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
FurosemideThe therapeutic efficacy of Furosemide can be increased when used in combination with Asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi.
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Food Interactions
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Active Moieties
Asparaginase Escherichia coliunknownG4FQ3CKY5R9015-68-3Not applicable
Brand Name Prescription Products
NameDosageStrengthRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
ErwinasePowder, for solutionIntramuscular; Intravenous; SubcutaneousJazz Pharmaceuticals France Sas2009-07-01Not applicableCanada flag
ErwinazeInjection, powder, lyophilized, for solution10000 [iU]/1mLIntramuscular; IntravenousJazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.2011-11-18Not applicableUS flag
Additional Data Available
  • Application Number
    Application Number
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    A unique ID assigned by the FDA when a product is submitted for approval by the labeller.

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  • Product Code
    Product Code
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    A governmentally-recognized ID which uniquely identifies the product within its regulatory market.

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Drug Categories
Chemical TaxonomyProvided by Classyfire
Not Available
Organic Compounds
Super Class
Organic Acids
Carboxylic Acids and Derivatives
Sub Class
Amino Acids, Peptides, and Analogues
Direct Parent
Alternative Parents
Not Available
Not Available
Molecular Framework
Not Available
External Descriptors
Not Available

Chemical Identifiers

CAS number


General References
  1. Pieters R, Hunger SP, Boos J, Rizzari C, Silverman L, Baruchel A, Goekbuget N, Schrappe M, Pui CH: L-asparaginase treatment in acute lymphoblastic leukemia: a focus on Erwinia asparaginase. Cancer. 2011 Jan 15;117(2):238-49. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25489. Epub 2010 Sep 7. [PubMed:20824725]
  2. Yang L, Panetta JC, Cai X, Yang W, Pei D, Cheng C, Kornegay N, Pui CH, Relling MV: Asparaginase may influence dexamethasone pharmacokinetics in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Apr 20;26(12):1932-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.13.8404. [PubMed:18421047]
  3. Pinheiro JP, Boos J: The best way to use asparaginase in childhood acute lymphatic leukaemia--still to be defined? Br J Haematol. 2004 Apr;125(2):117-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2004.04863.x. [PubMed:15059133]
  4. Link [Link]
  5. Link [Link]
  6. Electronic Medicines Compendium ERWINASE (Erwinia L-asparaginase), 10000 Units/vial, Lyophilisate for Solution for Injection Monograph [Link]
  7. BC Cancer Asparaginase Monograph [Link]
  8. Pegylated l-asparaginase: Protein Sequence of Erwinia Asparaginase [Link]
  9. Genbank Accession No. CAA32884: L-asparaginase [Dickeya chrysanthemi] [Link]
PubChem Substance
RxList Drug Page Drug Page
AHFS Codes
  • 10:00.00 — Antineoplastic Agents
FDA label
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Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials
3Active Not RecruitingTreatmentAcute Lymphoblastic Leukaemias (ALL)1
3CompletedTreatmentAcute Lymphoblastic Leukaemias (ALL)3
3RecruitingTreatmentAcute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Pediatric2
3RecruitingTreatmentAcute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)1
3RecruitingTreatmentAcute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) / Down Syndrome (DS) / Myelodysplastic Syndrome / Myeloid Leukemia Associated With Down Syndrome / Myeloproliferative Neoplasms1
3RecruitingTreatmentB Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia / B Lymphoblastic Lymphoma / Down Syndrome (DS)1
2Active Not RecruitingTreatmentLymphoma, Lymphoblastic1
2CompletedTreatmentAcute Lymphoblastic Leukaemias (ALL) / Lymphoma, Lymphoblastic2
2CompletedTreatmentNon-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL)1
2RecruitingTreatmentAcute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) / AML, Childhood1


Not Available
Not Available
Dosage Forms
Powder, for solutionIntramuscular; Intravenous; Subcutaneous
Injection, powder, lyophilized, for solutionIntramuscular; Intravenous10000 [iU]/1mL
Not Available
Not Available


Experimental Properties
Not Available


Pharmacological action
General Function
Serine-type endopeptidase inhibitor activity
Specific Function
Major thyroid hormone transport protein in serum.
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Thyroxine-binding globulin
Molecular Weight
46324.12 Da

Drug created on May 27, 2013 17:48 / Updated on November 30, 2020 13:38

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