Internal tandem duplications (ITDs) of the FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) receptor tyrosine kinase are found in approximately 30% of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and are associated with a poor prognosis. FLT3 ITD mutations result in constitutive kinase activation and are thought to be pathogenetically relevant, implicating FLT3 as a plausible therapeutic target. MLN518 (formerly CT53518) is a small molecule inhibitor of the FLT3, KIT, and platelet-derived growth-factor receptor (PDGFR) tyrosine kinases with significant activity in murine models of FLT3 ITD-positive leukemia. Given the importance of FLT3 and KIT for normal hematopoietic progenitor cells, we analyzed the effect of MLN518 on murine hematopoiesis under steady-state conditions, after chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression, and during bone marrow transplantation. In these assays, we show that MLN518 has mild toxicity toward normal hematopoiesis at concentrations that are effective in treating FLT3 ITD-positive leukemia in mice. We also demonstrate that MLN518 preferentially inhibits the growth of blast colonies from FLT3 ITD-positive compared with ITD-negative patients with AML, at concentrations that do not significantly affect colony formation by normal human progenitor cells. In analogy to imatinib mesylate in BCR-ABL-positive acute leukemia, MLN518-induced remissions may not be durable. Our studies provide the basis for integrating this compound into chemotherapy and transplantation protocols.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology