Interleukin-3 receptor in acute leukemia

Leukemia. 2004 Feb;18(2):219-26. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2403224.


Recent studies indicate that abnormalities of the interleukin-3 receptor (IL-3R) are frequently observed in acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs) and may contribute to the proliferative advantage of leukemic blasts. This review analyzes the evidences indicating that the IL-3R represents one of the target molecules involved in the stimulation of proliferation of AMLs, and the overexpression of the IL-3Ralpha chain may represent one of the mechanisms contributing to the development of a highly malignant leukemic phenotype. Furthermore, there is evidence that the IL-3Ralpha is a marker of leukemic stem cells, at variance with normal stem cells that are IL-3Ralpha-. Finally, the IL-3R may represent an important target for the development of new antileukemic drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-3 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / etiology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / physiology
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-3 / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-3 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-3 / physiology*


  • IL3RA protein, human
  • Interleukin-3 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Interleukin-3