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Cancers 2016, 8(11), 101;

Targeting the TAM Receptors in Leukemia

Aflac Cancer Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Deric L. Wheeler and Toni M. Brand
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue TAM family receptors in cancer biology and therapeutic resistance)
PDF [1060 KB, uploaded 8 November 2016]


Targeted inhibition of members of the TAM (TYRO-3, AXL, MERTK) family of receptor tyrosine kinases has recently been investigated as a novel strategy for treatment of hematologic malignancies. The physiologic functions of the TAM receptors in innate immune control, natural killer (NK) cell differentiation, efferocytosis, clearance of apoptotic debris, and hemostasis have previously been described and more recent data implicate TAM kinases as important regulators of erythropoiesis and megakaryopoiesis. The TAM receptors are aberrantly or ectopically expressed in many hematologic malignancies including acute myeloid leukemia, B- and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and multiple myeloma. TAM receptors contribute to leukemic phenotypes through activation of pro-survival signaling pathways and interplay with other oncogenic proteins such as FLT3, LYN, and FGFR3. The TAM receptors also contribute to resistance to both cytotoxic chemotherapeutics and targeted agents, making them attractive therapeutic targets. A number of translational strategies for TAM inhibition are in development, including small molecule inhibitors, ligand traps, and monoclonal antibodies. Emerging areas of research include modulation of TAM receptors to enhance anti-tumor immunity, potential roles for TYRO-3 in leukemogenesis, and the function of the bone marrow microenvironment in mediating resistance to TAM inhibition. View Full-Text
Keywords: TYRO3; AXL; MERTK; Gas6; leukemia; multiple myeloma; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; resistance; hematopoiesis; signaling pathways TYRO3; AXL; MERTK; Gas6; leukemia; multiple myeloma; tyrosine kinase inhibitor; resistance; hematopoiesis; signaling pathways

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Huey, M.G.; Minson, K.A.; Earp, H.S.; DeRyckere, D.; Graham, D.K. Targeting the TAM Receptors in Leukemia. Cancers 2016, 8, 101.

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