FLT-3: a new focus in the understanding of acute leukemia

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Jun;37(6):1168-72. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2004.12.005. Epub 2005 Jan 26.


The FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT-3), which belongs to the class III receptor tyrosine kinase family, is primarily expressed by hematopoietic cells and plays an important role in hematopoiesis. FLT-3 is also expressed in the majority of acute leukemias, in which the presence of FLT-3 activating mutations is associated with poor prognosis. Consequently, there has been a recent surge in the development of FLT-3 inhibitors for the molecular targeting of leukemia, and many of these are now in clinical trials. An improved understanding of how FLT-3 interacts with its ligand, as well as how FLT-3 activating mutations are able to trigger downstream intracellular signaling pathways, will provide greater insight to how small molecule inhibitors may best be utilized and combined with established chemotherapeutic drugs for the management of patients with high-risk acute leukemia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / physiopathology*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / physiopathology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • FLT3 protein, human
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3