FLT3 inhibitors in acute myeloid leukemia: Current and future
FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that is responsible for the proliferation and survival of hematopoietic stem cells in acute myeloid leukemia. Although patients with FLT3 mutations have similar rates of remission following induction chemotherapy, relapse rates are significantly higher and patients with FLT3 mutations have significantly worse outcomes for overall survival and disease-free survival. Early FLT3 inhibitors, such as sorafenib, were non-selective and inhibited several tyrosine kinase receptors resulting in significant toxicity. The treatment of FLT3-positive acute myeloid leukemia has advanced recently with the development of a several FLT3-targeting agents that are either approved or in development. Midostaurin represents the first FDA-approved treatment targeted against FLT3, and there are several promising agents currently undergoing clinical trials. Although certain mutations confer resistance to earlier generation FLT3-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors, newer agents show activity in the presence of these mutations.