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Medical Oncology

, 31:985 | Cite as

Histone deacetylase inhibitors in glioblastoma: pre-clinical and clinical experience

  • Pavel Bezecny
Review Article

Abstract

Epigenetic mechanisms are increasingly recognized as a major factor contributing to pathogenesis of cancer including glioblastoma, the most common and most malignant primary brain tumour in adults. Enzymatic modifications of histone proteins regulating gene expression are being exploited for therapeutic drug targeting. Over the last decade, numerous studies have shown promising results with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors in various malignancies. This article provides a brief overview of mechanism of anti-cancer effect and pharmacology of HDAC inhibitors and summarizes results from pre-clinical and clinical studies in glioblastoma. It analyses experience with HDAC inhibitors as single agents as well as in combination with targeted agents, cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Hallmark features of glioblastoma, such as uncontrolled cellular proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis and resistance to apoptosis, have been shown to be targeted by HDAC inhibitors in experiments with glioblastoma cell lines. Vorinostat is the most advanced HDAC inhibitor that entered clinical trials in glioblastoma, showing activity in recurrent disease. Multiple phase II trials with vorinostat in combination with targeted agents, temozolomide and radiotherapy are currently recruiting. While the results from pre-clinical studies are encouraging, early clinical trials showed only modest benefit and the value of HDAC inhibitors for clinical practice will need to be confirmed in larger prospective trials. Further research in epigenetic mechanisms driving glioblastoma pathogenesis and identification of molecular subtypes of glioblastoma is needed. This will hopefully lead to better selection of patients who will benefit from treatment with HDAC inhibitors.

Keywords

Histone deacetylase inhibitors Glioblastoma Vorinostat Romidepsin Valproic acid 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Catherine Mitchell, MD (Royal Preston Hospital, UK) for her assistance with revising the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rosemere Cancer CentreLancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustPrestonUK

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