Expression of type III receptor tyrosine kinases FLT3 and KIT and responses to their ligands by acute myeloid leukemia blasts

A. Stacchini, L. Fubini, A. Severino, F. Sanavio, M. Aglietta, W. Piacibello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The stem cell tyrosine kinase 1 (STK1) protein is the human homologue of the murine FLT3 gene product, a receptor belonging to the FMS/KIT family. FLT3 and KIT with their ligands control the growth and differentiation of early human hemopoietic cells. In the present study, 16 cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) were examined by flow cytometry for cell surface expression of FLT3 and KIT receptors. All cases were also tested for their proliferative response to human FLT3 ligand (FL) and KIT ligand (KL) and for colony formation in the presence of single or associated cytokines. Among 16 AML cases tested, 10/16 expressed FLT3 receptor and 12/16 expressed KIT receptor, without any correlation with FAB subtype. FL and KL stimulated the proliferation of leukemic blasts in 11/16 AML cases (including five FLT3 or KIT receptor-negative cases), with an additive effect when added simultaneously. By contrast, some receptor expressing AMLs did not display significant proliferative responses to their respective ligands. FL and KL as single factors induced or significantly increased the colony formation by clonogenic precursor cells respectively in eight and six of 13 cases tested. In some cases growth factor association significantly enhanced colony growth. Taken together these observations provide evidence that the pattern of FLT3 and KIT receptor expression is extremely variable among the AMLs and that receptor presence is not necessarily combined with proliferative and clonogenic response or vice versa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1584-1591
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996


  • Cytokine
  • Flow cytometry
  • FLT3
  • KIT
  • Myeloid leukemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology


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