Introduction: Outcomes for the majority of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remain poor. Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in the understanding of the cytogenetic and molecular determinants of AML pathogenesis. One such advance is the identification of recurring mutations in the FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 gene (FLT3). Currently, this marker, which appears in approximately one-third of all AML patients, not only signifies a poorer prognosis but also identifies an important target for therapy. FLT3 inhibitors have now undergone clinical evaluation in Phase I, II and III clinical trials, as both single agents and in combination with chemotherapeutics. Unfortunately, to date, none of the FLT3 inhibitors have gained FDA approval for the treatment of patients with AML. Yet, several promising FLT3 inhibitors are being evaluated in all phases of drug development.Areas covered: This review aims to highlight the agents furthest along in their development. It also focuses on those FLT3 inhibitors that are being evaluated in combination with other anti-leukemia agents.Expert opinion: The authors believe that the field of research for FLT3 inhibitors remains promising, despite the historically poor prognosis of this subgroup of patients with AML. The most promising areas of research will likely be the elucidation of the mechanisms of resistance to FLT3 inhibitors, and development of potent FLT3 inhibitors alone or in combination with hypomethylating agents, cytotoxic chemotherapy or with other targeted agents.
- FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 gene
- FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 gene inhibitor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)