Histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity is one of the widely used and well-established mechanisms for regulation of various genes in cancer. To identify which subtype of class I HDACs are overexpressed in cancers, we analyzed the expression of class I HDAC isotypes composed of HDAC1, 2, 3 and 8 in several cell lines and human cancer tissues, including cancer of the stomach, esophagus, colon, prostate, breast, ovary, lung, pancreas and thyroid. The results showed that >75% of human cancer tissues and their corresponding non-cancerous epithelium showed high expression of these class I HDACs. However, the immunoreactivity of HDAC8 in both prostatic cancer tissue and non-cancerous prostate glands was lower than that in other cancer tissues. Furthermore, 5-40% of cancer tissues overexpressed class I HDACs, when compared with normal epithelium. The results suggest the potential usefulness of HDAC inhibitors for the treatment of a wide variety of human cancers.