We describe recent updates of existing molecular-targeting agents and emerging novel gene-specific strategies. FLT3 and IDH inhibitors are being tested in combination with conventional chemotherapy for both medically fit patients and patients who are ineligible for intensive therapy. FLT3 inhibitors combined with non-cytotoxic agents, such as BCL-2 inhibitors, have potential therapeutic applicability. The menin-MLL complex pathway is an emerging therapeutic target. The pathway accounts for the leukemogenesis in AML with MLL-rearrangement, NPM1 mutation, and NUP98 fusion genes. Potent menin-MLL inhibitors have demonstrated promising anti-leukemic effects in preclinical studies. The downstream signaling molecule SYK represents an additional target. However, the TP53 mutation continues to remain a challenge. While the p53 stabilizer APR-246 in combination with azacitidine failed to show superiority compared to azacitidine monotherapy in a phase 3 trial, next-generation p53 stabilizers are now under development. Among a number of non-canonical approaches to TP53-mutated AML, the anti-CD47 antibody magrolimab in combination with azacitidine showed promising results in a phase 1b trial. Further, the efficacy was somewhat better in patients with the TP53 mutation. Although clinical evidence has not been accumulated sufficiently, targeting activating KIT mutations and RAS pathway-related molecules can be a future therapeutic strategy.
Keywords: BCL-2; CD47; FLT3; IDH1; IDH2; KIT; KRAS; MLL rearrangement; NPM1; NRAS; NUP98 fusion; SYK; TP53; acute myeloid leukemia; menin.