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Blood. 2003 May 1;101(9):3597-605. Epub 2003 Jan 16.

SU11248 is a novel FLT3 tyrosine kinase inhibitor with potent activity in vitro and in vivo.

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Preclinical Research and Exploratory Development, SUGEN, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


FLT3 (fms-related tyrosine kinase/Flk2/Stk-2) is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) primarily expressed on hematopoietic cells. In blasts from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patients, 2 classes of FLT3 activating mutations have been identified: internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations in the juxtamembrane domain (25%-30% of patients) and point mutations in the kinase domain activation loop (7%-8% of patients). FLT3-ITD mutations are the most common molecular defect identified in AML and have been shown to be an independent prognostic factor for decreased survival. FLT3-ITD is therefore an attractive molecular target for therapy. SU11248 is a recently described selective inhibitor with selectivity for split kinase domain RTKs, including platelet-derived growth factor receptors, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors, and KIT. We show that SU11248 also has potent activity against wild-type FLT3 (FLT3-WT), FLT3-ITD, and FLT3 activation loop (FLT3-Asp835) mutants in phosphorylation assays. SU11248 inhibits FLT3-driven phosphorylation and induces apoptosis in vitro. In addition, SU11248 inhibits FLT3-induced VEGF production. The in vivo efficacy of SU11248 was investigated in 2 FLT3-ITD models: a subcutaneous tumor xenograft model and a bone marrow engraftment model. We show that SU11248 (20 mg/kg/d) dramatically regresses FLT3-ITD tumors in the subcutaneous tumor xenograft model and prolongs survival in the bone marrow engraftment model. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis in subcutaneous tumors showed that a single administration of an efficacious drug dose potently inhibits FLT3-ITD phosphorylation for up to 16 hours following a single dose. These results suggest that further exploration of SU11248 activity in AML patients is warranted.

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