Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have been actively exploited as potential anticancer agents. To identify gene targets of HDAC inhibitors, we found that HDAC inhibitors such as sodium butyrate, scriptaid, apicidin and oxamflatin induced the expression of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH), a potential cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) antagonist and tumor suppressor, in a time and concentration dependent manner in A549 and H1435 lung adenocarcinoma cells. Detailed analyses indicated that HDAC inhibitors activated the 15-PGDH promoter-luciferase reporter construct in transfected A549 cells. A representative HDAC inhibitor, scriptaid, and its negative structural analog control, nullscript, were further evaluated at the chromatin level. Scriptaid but not nullscript induced a significant accumulation of acetylated histones H3 and H4 which were associated with the 15-PGDH promoter as determined by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) also induced the expression of 15-PGDH in a time and concentration dependent manner in A549 and H1435 cells. Induction of 15-PGDH expression by TGF-beta1 was synergistically stimulated by the addition of Wnt3A which was inactive by itself. However, combination of TGF-beta and an HDAC inhibitor, scriptaid, only resulted in an additive effect. Together, our results indicate that 15-PGDH is one of the target genes that HDAC inhibitors and TGF-beta may induce to exhibit tumor suppressive effects.