Momelotinib shows high efficacy against FLT3 mutated AML cells including quizartinib-resistant activation loop variants.
Momelotinib effectively suppresses intrinsic resistance conferred by FLT3 ligand and hematopoietic cytokines (GM-CSF and IL3).
Kinase activating mutation in FLT3 is the most frequent genetic lesion associated with poor prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Therapeutic response to FLT3 tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy is dismal, and many patients relapse even after allogenic stem cell transplantation. Despite the introduction of more selective FLT3 inhibitors, remissions are short-lived, and patients show progressive disease after an initial response. Acquisition of resistance-conferring genetic mutations and growth factor signaling are two principal mechanisms that drive relapse. FLT3 inhibitors targeting both escape mechanisms could lead to a more profound and lasting clinical responses. Here we show that the JAK2 inhibitor, momelotinib, is an equipotent type-1 FLT3 inhibitor. Momelotinib showed potent inhibitory activity on both mouse and human cells expressing FLT3-ITD, including clinically relevant resistant mutations within the activation loop at residues, D835, D839, and Y842. Additionally, momelotinib efficiently suppressed the resistance mediated by FLT3 ligand (FL) and hematopoietic cytokine activated JAK2 signaling. Interestingly, unlike gilteritinib, momelotinib inhibits the expression of MYC in leukemic cells. Consequently, concomitant inhibition of FLT3 and downregulation of MYC by momelotinib treatment showed better efficacy in suppressing the leukemia in a preclinical murine model of AML. Altogether, these data provide evidence that momelotinib is an effective type-1 dual JAK2/FLT3 inhibitor and may offer an alternative to gilteritinib. Its ability to impede the resistance conferred by growth factor signaling and activation loop mutants suggests that momelotinib treatment could provide a deeper and durable response; thus, warrants its clinical evaluation.