Research ArticleCancer

Preventing chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression by repurposing the FLT3 inhibitor quizartinib

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Science Translational Medicine  09 Aug 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 402, eaam8060
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aam8060

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Rock-a-bye bone marrow

Although chemotherapy saves the lives of many cancer patients, it is a difficult treatment that induces many major side effects, with one of the most common being myelosuppression (depletion of bone marrow cells). The consequences of myelosuppression include anemia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia, all of which can cause severe complications and delay subsequent courses of chemotherapy. Taylor et al. discovered that quizartinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, can decrease the risk of myelosuppression during cancer treatment by transiently suppressing the proliferation of bone marrow progenitor cells. In contrast, cancer cells continue to proliferate during treatment, making them a target for chemotherapy even while the bone marrow is protected, as the authors demonstrated in mice with leukemia.