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Inhibitors of HDACs - Effective Drugs Against Cancer?

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Alterations in genomic and non-genomic mechanisms can disturb homeostasis and cause severe human diseases. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are epigenetic regulators which catalyze the removal of acetyl moieties from histones and non-histone proteins. Aberrant histone deacetylation, due to increased HDAC activity and expression, often correlates with pathological gene repression and neoplastic transformation. Therefore, intense efforts have been made to find small molecule inhibitors of HDACs (HDACIs). Such compounds indeed alter cellular signaling networks relevant for tumorigenesis, and several HDACIs are currently tested in clinical trials against different types of cancer. Although HDACs share a conserved deacetylase domain and an at least similar mechanism of catalysis, isoenzyme-specific HDACIs could be identified and certain HDACIs even evoke degradation of HDACs. Here, we summarize molecular actions of HDACs and of different classes of HDACIs. In addition, we review data obtained in clinical studies involving HDACIs and we discuss how such agents might be beneficial for the treatment of cancer.

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Keywords: Histone deacetylase; Histone deacetylase inhibitor; SAHA; VPA; cancer; chemotherapy; gene expression; translational research

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-03-01

More about this publication?
  • Current Cancer Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular drug targets involved in cancer, e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes.
    Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cancer.
    As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for anti-cancer drug discovery continues to grow; this journal has become essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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