Objective: The FLT3 internal tandem duplication (Flt3-ITD) confers a worse prognosis for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML); however, the mechanisms involved are unknown. As AML is treated with cytarabine (Ara-C) and an anthracycline, we sought to determine the effects of the Flt3-ITD on response to these agents.
Materials and methods: A genetically defined mouse model of AML was used to examine the effects of the Flt3-ITD on response to cytarabine and doxorubicin in vitro and in vivo.
Results: In vitro, the Flt3-ITD conferred resistance to doxorubicin and doxorubicin plus Ara-C, but sensitivity to Ara-C alone. This resistance was reversible by the Flt3-ITD inhibitor sorafenib. The Flt3-ITD did not affect DNA damage levels after treatment, but was associated with increased levels of p53. The p53 response was critical to the observed changes as the Flt3-ITD had no effect on chemotherapy response in the setting of p53 null AML. In vivo, the Flt3-ITD accelerated engraftment that was partially reversible by Ara-C but not doxorubicin. Additionally, Ara-C provided a significant reduction in disease burden and a survival advantage that was not increased by the addition of doxorubicin. Doxorubicin alone led to only minimal disease reduction and no survival benefit.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the Flt3-ITD confers sensitivity to Ara-C, but resistance to doxorubicin in a manner that depends on p53. Thus, patients with Flt3-ITD positive AML may not benefit from treatment with an anthracycline.
Copyright © 2011 ISEH - Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.