Clofarabine is sequentially metabolized intracellularly to the 5’-monophosphate metabolite by deoxycytidine kinase and mono- and di-phospho-kinases to the active 5’-triphosphate metabolite. Clofarabine has affinity for the activating phosphorylating enzyme, deoxycytidine kinase, equal to or greater than that of the natural substrate, deoxycytidine. Clofarabine inhibits DNA synthesis by decreasing cellular deoxynucleotide triphosphate pools through an inhibitory action on ribonucleotide reductase, and by terminating DNA chain elongation and inhibiting repair through incorporation into the DNA chain by competitive inhibition of DNA polymerases. The affinity of clofarabine triphosphate for these enzymes is similar to or greater than that of deoxyadenosine triphosphate. In preclinical models, clofarabine has demonstrated the ability to inhibit DNA repair by incorporation into the DNA chain during the repair process. Clofarabine 5’-triphosphate also disrupts the integrity of mitochondrial membrane, leading to the release of the pro-apoptotic mitochondrial proteins, cytochrome C and apoptosis-inducing factor, leading to programmed cell death. Clofarabine is cytotoxic to rapidly proliferating and quiescent cancer cell types in vitro.