Lack of KIT or FMS internal tandem duplications but co-expression with ligands in AML

Leuk Res. 2004 Feb;28(2):121-6. doi: 10.1016/s0145-2126(03)00184-x.


KIT and FMS, members of the class III receptor tyrosine kinase family, are expressed on normal hematopoietic cells and have important roles in normal hematopoiesis. FLT3 is also a member of the class III receptor tyrosine kinase family and plays important role in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, NK, and dendritic cells. Recently, internal tandem duplication (ITDs) mutations have been found in the juxtamembrane (JM) region of FLT3 receptor expressed by patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The mutations result in the constitutive dimerization and activation of the receptor, contributing to leukemic transformation. KIT and FMS are also frequently expressed in AML and are closely related to FLT3. Thus, similar ITD mutations could also occur in the KIT and/or FMS gene of patients with AML. To explore this possibility, 13 human leukemia-lymphoma cell lines and 44 AML patient samples were examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the presence of ITD mutations in the JM region of the KIT or FMS receptor. None of the 13 human leukemia-lymphoma cell lines or 44 AML primary bone marrow samples express ITDs in either KIT or FMS in the JM region that is involved in FLT3 mutations. The 13 cell lines and 44 AML samples were also examined for the possible co-expression of KIT and/or FMS receptors with their respective ligands, as we have seen for FLT3 and its ligand, FL. This co-expression could contribute to leukemic transformation through autocrine, paracrine, or intracrine activation mechanisms. And 6/13 cell lines and 27/44 primary AML samples exhibit co-expression of the KIT receptor and ligand (SCF) while 10/13 cell lines and 35/44 primary AML samples exhibit co-expression of the FMS receptor and ligand (CSF-1). Therefore, while ITD mutations were not found, the findings of co-expression of KIT and/or FMS with their respective ligands implies these receptors might contribute to leukemogenesis in some patients with AML through autocrine, paracrine, or intracrine interactive stimulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Autocrine Communication
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / etiology
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / genetics
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / pathology*
  • Ligands
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / biosynthesis
  • Mutation*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics*
  • Stem Cell Factor / analysis
  • Stem Cell Factor / biosynthesis
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences*


  • Ligands
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Stem Cell Factor
  • Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit
  • Receptor, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor