The therapeutic efficacy of humanized or chimeric second-generation antitumor antibodies is clearly established, but often limited. In recent years, defined modifications of the glycosylation pattern or the amino-acid sequence of the human immunoglobulin G1 Fc part have resulted in the development of third-generation antibodies with improved capability to recruit Fc receptor-bearing effector cells. The first antibodies of this kind, currently evaluated in early clinical trials, are directed against lymphoma-associated antigens. Fc-engineered antibodies targeting myeloid leukemia are not yet available. We here report on the generation and preclinical characterization of an Fc-optimized antibody directed to the FMS-related tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3), an antigen expressed on the leukemic blasts of all investigated patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This antibody, termed 4G8SDIEM, mediated markedly enhanced cellular cytotoxicity against FLT3-expressing cell lines as well as blasts of AML patients. FLT3 expression levels on AML cells varied between 300 and 4600 molecules/cell and, in most cases, were substantially higher than those detected on normal hematopoietic precursor cells and dendritic cells (approximately 300 molecules/cell). Antibody-mediated cytotoxicity against these normal cells was not detectable. 4G8SDIEM has been produced in pharmaceutical quality in a university-owned production unit and is currently used for the treatment of leukemia patients.