Recent findings have indicated that tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) targeting the ERBB receptor family display anti-leukaemic effects, despite the lack of receptor expression on human leukaemic cells. The occurrence of activating mutations in the gene encoding FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) has rendered inhibition of this receptor a promising therapeutic target. Due to possibility of cross-reactivity, we investigated the effect of the irreversible pan-ERBB inhibitor canertinib (CI-1033) on leukaemic cells expressing FLT3. The drug had anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects on primary AML cells and human leukaemic cell lines expressing mutated FLT3. In several AML patient samples, a blast cell population expressing FLT3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) was eradicated by canertinib. Canertinib inhibited receptor autophosphorylation and kinase activity of both mutated and FLT3 ligand stimulated wildtype FLT3, leading to inhibition of the PI3-kinase and MAP kinase pathways. Apoptotic induction was dependent on pro-apoptotic BH3-only protein BCL2L11/BIM because siRNA silencing attenuated apoptosis. Moreover, the drug induced regression of cells expressing FLT3-ITD in a murine in vivo-transplantation model at previously described tolerated doses. These results indicate that canertinib, as an irreversible TKI, could constitute a novel treatment regimen in patients with mutated or overexpressed FLT3.
Bibliographical noteThe information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Experimental Clinical Chemistry (013016010)
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