Therapeutic potential of histone deacetylase inhibitors in pancreatic cancer

Cancer Lett. 2014 Jun 1;347(2):183-90. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.02.012. Epub 2014 Feb 15.


Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with a dismal prognosis. Surgical resection is the only curative option but is heavily hampered by delayed diagnosis. Due to few therapeutic treatments available, novel and efficacious therapy is urgently needed. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) are emerging as a prominent class of therapeutic agents for pancreatic cancer and have exhibited significant anticancer potential with negligible toxicity in preclinical studies. Clinical evaluations of HDACIs are currently underway. HDACIs as monotherapy in solid tumors have proven less effective than hematological malignancies, the combination of HDACIs with other anticancer agents have been assessed for advanced pancreatic cancer. In this review, we describe the molecular mechanism underpin the anticancer effect of HDACIs in pancreatic cancer and summarize the recent advances in the rationale for the combination strategies incorporating HDACIs. In addition, we discuss the importance of identifying predictors of response to HDACI-based therapy.

Keywords: Combination therapy; HDAC inhibitors; Histone deacetylases; Pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors