The role of histone deacetylases in prostate cancer

Epigenetics. 2008 Nov;3(6):300-9. doi: 10.4161/epi.3.6.7273. Epub 2008 Nov 24.


Epigenetic modifications play a key role in the patho-physiology of prostate cancer. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) play major roles in prostate cancer progression. HDACs are part of a transcriptional co-repressor complex that influences various tumor suppressor genes. Because of the significant roles played by HDACs in various human cancers, HDAC inhibitors are emerging as a new class of chemotherapeutic agents. HDAC inhibitors have been shown to induce cell growth arrest, differentiation and/or apoptosis in prostate cancer. The combined use of HDAC inhibitors with other chemotherapeutic agents or radiotherapy in cancer treatment has shown promising results. Various HDAC inhibitors are in different stages of clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the molecular mechanism(s) through which HDACs influence prostate cancer progression and the potential roles of HDAC inhibitors in prostate cancer prevention and therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylases / classification
  • Histone Deacetylases / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylases