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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 475641, 12 pages
Review Article

Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors in the Treatment of Hematological Malignancies and Solid Tumors

1Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Center for Biotechnology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
2Section of Medical Oncology, Department of Surgical and Oncological Sciences, University of Palermo, 90127, Palermo, Italy
3Division of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Medical School, National Institute of Biostructures and Biosystems, University of Sassari, Viale San Pietro, 43/b, 07100 Sassari, Italy

Received 19 July 2010; Accepted 12 October 2010

Academic Editor: Christian Seiser

Copyright © 2011 Mario Federico and Luigi Bagella. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The human genome is epigenetically organized through a series of modifications to the histone proteins that interact with the DNA. In cancer, many of the proteins that regulate these modifications can be altered in both function and expression. One example of this is the family of histone deacetylases (HDACs), which as their name implies remove acetyl groups from the histone proteins, allowing for more condensed nucleosomal structure. HDACs have increased expression in cancer and are also believed to promote carcinogenesis through the acetylation and interaction with key transcriptional regulators. Given this, small molecule histone deacetylases inhibitors have been identified and developed, which not only inhibit HDACs, but can also lead to growth arrest, differentiation, and/or apoptosis in tumors both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we will discuss some of the recent developments in clinical trials utilizing HDACs inhibitors for the treatment of both hematological malignancies as well as solid tumors.