Since the discovery of FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3)-activating mutations as genetic drivers in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), investigators have tried to develop tyrosine kinase inhibitors that could effectively target FLT3 and alter the disease trajectory. Giltertinib (formerly known as ASP2215) is a novel compound that entered the field late, but moved through the developmental process with remarkable speed. In many ways, this drug's rapid development was facilitated by the large body of knowledge gained over the years from efforts to develop other FLT3 inhibitors. Single-agent gilteritinib, a potent and selective oral FLT3 inhibitor, improved the survival of patients with relapsed or refractory FLT3-mutated AML compared with standard chemotherapy. This continues to validate the approach of targeting FLT3 itself and establishes a new backbone for testing combination regimens. This review will frame the preclinical and clinical development of gilteritinib in the context of the lessons learned from its predecessors.
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