Prolonged exposure to FLT3 inhibitors leads to resistance via activation of parallel signaling pathways

Obdulio Piloto, Melissa Wright, Patrick Brown, Kyu Tae Kim, Mark Levis, Donald Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Continuous treatment of malignancies with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) may select for resistant clones (ie, imatinib mesylate). To study resistance to TKIs targeting FLT3, a receptor tyrosine kinase that is frequently mutated in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), we developed resistant human cell lines through prolonged coculture with FLT3 TKIs. FLT3 TKI-resistant cell lines and primary samples still exhibit inhibition of FLT3 phosphorylation on FLT3 TKI treatment. However, FLT3 TKI-resistant cell lines and primary samples often show continued activation of downstream PI3K/Akt and/or Ras/MEK/MAPK signaling pathways as well as continued expression of genes involved in FLT3-mediated cellular transformation. Inhibition of these signaling pathways restores partial sensitivity to FLT3 TKIs. Mutational screening of FLT3 TKI-resistant cell lines revealed activating N-Ras mutations in 2 cell lines that were not present in the parental FLT3 TKI-sensitive cell line. Taken together, these data indicate that FLT3 TKI-resistant cells most frequently become FLT3 independent because of activation of parallel signaling pathways that provide compensatory survival/proliferation signals when FLT3 is inhibited. Anti-FLT3 mAb treatment was still cytotoxic to FLT3 TKI-resistant clones. An approach combining FLT3 TKIs with anti-FLT3 antibodies and/or inhibitors of important pathways downstream of FLT3 may reduce the chances of developing resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1643-1652
Number of pages10
JournalBlood
Volume109
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology

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