Histone deacetylase inhibitors: Current status and overview of recent clinical trials

Xujun Ma, Hany H. Ezzeldin, Robert B. Diasio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are a new group of anticancer agents that have a potential role in the regulation of gene expression, induction of cell death, apoptosis and cell cycle arrest of cancer cells by altering the acetylation status of chromatin and other non-histone proteins. In clinical trials, HDAC inhibitors have demonstrated promising antitumour activity as monotherapy in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and other haematological malignancies. In solid tumours, several HDAC inhibitors have been shown to be efficacious as single agents; however, results of most clinical trials were in favour of using HDAC inhibitors either prior to the initiation of chemotherapy or in combination with other treatments. Currently, the molecular basis of response to HDAC inhibitors in patients is not fully understood. In this review, we summarize the current status of HDAC inhibitors, as single agents or in combination with other agents in different phases of clinical trials. In most of the clinical trials, HDAC inhibitors were tolerable and exerted biological or antitumor activity. HDAC inhibitors have been studied in phase I, II and III clinical trials with variable efficacy. The combination of HDAC inhibitors with other anticancer agents including epigenetic or chemotherapeutic agents demonstrated favourable clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1911-1934
Number of pages24
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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