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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

Flt3 Receptor Tyrosine Kinase as a Drug Target in Leukemia

Author(s): Dirk Schmidt-Arras, Joachim Schwable, Frank- D. Bohmer and Hubert Serve

Volume 10, Issue 16, 2004

Page: [1867 - 1883] Pages: 17

DOI: 10.2174/1381612043384394

Price: $65


The hematopoietic class III receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) Flt3 (Flk2, STK1) has recently received much attention as a potential drug target. Activation of Flt3 by different types of mutations plays an important role for proliferation, resistance to apoptosis, and prevention of differentiation of leukemic blasts in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). At least one type of such mutations - an internal tandem duplication in the Flt3 juxtamembrane domain (Flt3-ITD) - has been associated with an unfavorable prognosis. Signal transduction of Flt3 involves activation of several conserved pathways, including the RAS / MAP-Kinase and the phosphoinositide-3-kinase / Akt signaling cascades. Transforming versions of Flt3 exhibit altered signaling, for example a very pronounced activation of STAT5, ultimately resulting in alternate profiles of gene expression and cell transformation. Selective inhibitors of Flt3 tyrosine kinase activity have the potential to suppress aberrant Flt3 signaling. Although highly homologous to other class III RTKs, Flt3 is resistant to the phenylaminopyrimidine STI571 (Gleevec, Imatinib), a potent inhibitor of other RTKs in the family, such as the PDGFb-receptor or c-Kit. STI571 binding to Flt3 is prevented by the phenylalanine 691 side-chain in the ATP binding center and mutating this site to threonine renders the corresponding Flt3 mutant sensitive to STI571. Compounds of several other structural families, including the quinoxaline AG1296, the bis(1H-2-indolyl)-1-methanone D-65476, the indolinones SU5416 and SU11248, the indolocarbazoles PKC412 and CEP-701, and the piperazonyl quinazoline CT53518, are potent inhibitors of Flt3 kinase. They exhibit different selectivity profiles, both with respect to other kinases and among wildtype Flt3 and its activated versions. These compounds hold promise as novel drugs against AML and as probes for understanding activation mechanisms and signaling pathways in the class III RTK family.

Keywords: flt3, receptor tyrosine kinase, signal transduction, mutations, leukemia, aml, inhibitors

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