FLT3 Mutation and AML
A FLT3 mutation is a genetic mutation that may be screened during genetic testing, when diagnosed with AML. The FLT3 gene has demonstrated ability to predict a patient's likelihood to benefit from therapy as well as their risk of experiencing a disease recurrence. Assessment of FLT3 mutation status is recommended for all patients with AML by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and World Health Organization (WHO) clinical practice guidelines. In fact, FLT3 mutation testing is designated a "Standard of Care" for patients diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
Testing for FLT3 genetic mutations provides a significant prognosis indicator. In turn, more accurate prognostic indicators can assist with treatment decisions for an AML patient. Some treatment options that might normally be avoided based on normal cytogenetic profiles might be considered when FLT3 status foretells a high risk for relapse after chemotherapy. Having the FLT3 mutation does not equate to having a poor cure rate.
Clinical trials involving FLT3 inhibitors are being performed by several pharmaceutical companies who are using tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeted at FLT3. For inclusion in these trials, most require testing to confirm the presence of the FLT3 mutation.
"Identification of FLT3-ITD mutation probably constitutes the most important known pretreatment prognostic factor. There is a general agreement that the presence of FLT3-ITD mutation is associated with a higher risk of relapse, and it constitutes for many groups an indication to proceed to bone marrow transplantation, if a donor is available." — Dr. Claude Preudhomme "Cooperative gene mutations in acute myeloid leukemia: a review of the literature."Leukemia; 2008; 22:916