Introduction: Patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoma remain a population with unmet medical needs. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) represent a novel class of anticancer drugs currently in development in several malignancies. Inhibition of HDACs leads to acetylation of histone and non-histone proteins, which in turn results in epigenetic modification of gene expression that leads to a plethora of effects, such as cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and inhibition of angiogenesis. Romidepsin is a novel HDACI that has demonstrated preclinical and clinical activity.
Areas covered: This review discusses the different HDACs and epigenetic regulation with a particular focus on the preclinical and clinical development of romidepsin in lymphoma. The review of romidepsin includes: the mechanism of action, its synergistic interaction with novel agents, pivotal clinical trials that lead to its US FDA approval in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and peripheral T-cell lymphoma as well as active combinations currently in clinical trials.
Expert opinion: Romidepsin is a potent HDACI with clinical activity in T-cell lymphoma where novel agents and combinations are desperately needed. A deeper understanding of the molecular characteristics of this class of agents will allow the design of more potent drugs with improved toxicity profiles and future rational combinations that will expand the indication and benefit from these novel agents.
Keywords: histone acetyltransferase; histone deacetylase; histone deacetylase inhibitors; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; romidepsin.