The synthesis and characterization of 8-amino-6-fluoro-9-β-D-ribofuranosyl-9H-purine (3a) are presented. This compound is a substrate for adenosine deaminase and adenosine kinase. In L1210 cells 3a is converted to 8-aminoinosine monophosphate (4b), apparently by the action of AMP deaminase on the monophosphate of 3a, as well as to the triphosphate derivative of 3a. Pentostatin was used to inhibit adenosine deaminase, and coformycin was used to inhibit AMP deaminase in experiments designed to delineate the metabolic fate of 3a. Pentostatin was without influence on the cytotoxicity of 3a, but coformycin potentiated the cytotoxicity. The potentiation was associated with an increased cellular concentration of phosphates of 3a and a decreased concentration of 4b. © 1986, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.