Flt-3 ligand: a potent dendritic cell stimulator and novel antitumor agent

Cancer Biol Ther. 2002 Sep-Oct;1(5):486-9. doi: 10.4161/cbt.1.5.161.


Dendritic cell (DC) vaccination has generated intense interest as a potential cancer therapy. However, the rate limiting step has been the generation of DCs. Flt-3 ligand (FL) is a growth factor that was first discovered by its ability to stimulate the proliferation of hematopoietic progenitor cells of both lymphoid and myeloid origin. The remarkable activity of FL to induce large numbers of dendritic cells both in vivo and in vitro soon captured the interest of numerous researchers. In this review, we examine the structure and function of the FL, its antitumor activity in animal models, and its potential as a novel cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Hematopoiesis / drug effects
  • Hematopoiesis / immunology
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Membrane Proteins / pharmacology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Membrane Proteins
  • flt3 ligand protein