Histone deacetylase inhibitor entinostat reverses epithelial to mesenchymal transition of breast cancer cells by reversing the repression of E-cadherin

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jan;143(1):99-111. doi: 10.1007/s10549-013-2784-7. Epub 2013 Dec 5.


Loss of ERα in breast cancer correlates with poor prognosis, increased recurrence rates, and higher incidence of metastasis. Epigenetic silencing of E-cadherin (loss of which is associated with more invasive phenotype) is observed in metastatic cell lines and invasive breast cancers. Here, we are showing that entinostat (ENT) can reverse epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is considered to be a first step in the process of metastases formation. Triple-negative breast cancer cells such as MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T show a basal phenotype characterized by loss of E-cadherin expression and higher expression of mesenchymal markers such as N-cadherin and vimentin along with transcriptional repressors such as twist and snail. When MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T cells or tumors were treated with ENT, E-cadherin transcription was increased along with reduction in N-cadherin mRNA expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that treatment of MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T cells increased the activation of E-cadherin promoter by reducing the association of twist and snail with the E-cadherin (CDH1) promoter and downregulated both the snail and twist. ENT also inhibited cell migration in vitro. In addition, phosphorylation of vimentin was increased, as well as remodeling of vimentin filaments. ENT treatment also reduced formation of tubulin-based microtentacles, which help floating cells attach to other surfaces. These findings suggest that ENT can reverse EMT and may reduce the formation of metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzamides / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Twist-Related Protein 1 / metabolism


  • Benzamides
  • Cadherins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Pyridines
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Twist-Related Protein 1
  • entinostat
  • DNA Helicases
  • CHD1 protein, human