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Acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3; CD135)

In vitro and mouse studies suggest statins could help treat FLT3-mutant AML. In mouse bone marrow cells expressing mutant Flt3, Lescol fluvastatin prevented Flt3 glycosylation and cell surface translocation, which is required for FLT3-driven oncogenesis, and decreased proliferation compared with no treatment. In mice, fluvastatin decreased engraftment of mutant Flt3-expressing bone marrow cells and increased survival compared with saline. Next steps could include evaluating statins in combination with FLT3 inhibitors in mouse models of Flt3-driven AML.
Novartis AG markets Lescol, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, to treat hypercholesterolemia and prevent cardiovascular disease.
At least 10 companies have FLT3 inhibitors in clinical and preclinical testing to treat various cancers.

SciBX 5(38); doi:10.1038/scibx.2012.999
Published online Sept. 27, 2012

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Williams, A.B. et al. Blood; published online Aug. 27, 2012;
Contact: Donald Small, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,
Baltimore, Md.