FLT3 is the most common mutated gene in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and FLT3 mutations are strongly correlated with poor prognosis. Small-molecule inhibitors of FLT3 kinase have been evaluated in clinical trials but with limited success due to the emergence of activating mutants other than FLT3. CDK1, 2, 4 and 6 are well-established anti-cancer targets due to their direct role in cell cycle control. CDK7 and 9 are transcriptional CDKs that are emerging anti-cancer targets as a result of recent advances in the understanding of their effects on apoptotic regulators. Recent evidence suggests that the combined targeting of CDK1, 2 and 9 enhances apoptotic killing of tumor cells. Most CDK active compounds currently in clinical development do not target all of these CDKs and have poor pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties. Compounds targeting these CDKs, in addition to FLT3, may be more effective in AML and also be effective against other hematological as well as solid tumors. SB1317 is a novel potent inhibitor of FLT3 kinase (IC50 = 45 nM) and CDK2 (IC50 = 11 nM). The CDK spectrum also includes potent inhibition of CDK1 and 9 (IC50 = 19 and 10 nM respectively). SB1317 inhibits proliferation of a broad panel of tumor cell lines, and is particularly potent against the mutant FLT3-dependent AML cell line, MV4-11 (proliferation IC50 = 18 nM). SB1317 reduced phospho-Rb and phospho-FLT3 levels in MV4-11 cells in a dose-dependent manner. It induced apoptosis in MV4-11 cells as well as in primary AML cells from patients. The pharmaceutical, metabolic and pharmacokinetic properties of SB1317 render it amenable to oral dosing. In a nude mouse subcutaneous model of AML (MV4-11), SB1317 induced complete tumor regression after oral daily dosing (40 mg/kg for 21 days). In an orthotopic model of AML (HL60), SB1317 significantly prolonged median survival time (59 days versus 40 days) after treatment at 100 mg/kg p.o. 2d on/5d off. It also showed significant anti-tumor activity in a nude mouse model of B-cell lymphoma (Ramos) with a tumor growth inhibition of 63% (15 mg/kg i.p. 5d on/5d off). These results demonstrate the therapeutic potential of this novel kinase inhibitor for the treatment of hematological malignancies.

Author notes

Disclosure:Employment: All authors are employees of S*BIO Pte Ltd. Ownership Interests: Some of the authors have stock options in the Company.