Dual HDAC and PI3K Inhibition Abrogates NFκB- and FOXM1-Mediated DNA Damage Response to Radiosensitize Pediatric High-Grade Gliomas

Cancer Res. 2018 Jul 15;78(14):4007-4021. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-3691. Epub 2018 May 14.


Aberrant chromatin remodeling and activation of the PI3K pathway have been identified as important mediators of pediatric high-grade glioma (pHGG) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) pathogenesis. As inhibition of these pathways are promising therapeutic avenues and radiation is the only modality to prolong survival of patients with DIPG, we sought to explore radiosensitizing functions of such inhibition and to explore mechanisms of action of such agents. Here, we demonstrate that combined treatment with radiotherapy and CUDC-907, a novel first-in-class dual inhibitor of histone deacetylases (HDAC) and PI3K, evokes a potent cytotoxic response in pHGG and DIPG models. CUDC-907 modulated DNA damage response by inhibiting radiation-induced DNA repair pathways including homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining. The radiosensitizing effects of CUDC-907 were mediated by decreased NFκB/Forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) recruitment to promoters of genes involved in the DNA damage response; exogenous expression of NFκB/FOXM1 protected from CUDC-907-induced cytotoxicity. Together, these findings reveal CUDC-907 as a novel radiosensitizer with potent antitumor activity in pHGG and DIPG and provide a preclinical rationale for the combination of CUDC-907 with radiotherapy as a novel therapeutic strategy against pHGG and DIPG. More globally, we have identified NFκB and FOXM1 and their downstream transcriptional elements as critical targets for new treatments for pHGG and DIPG.Significance: These findings describe the radiosensitizing effect of a novel agent in pediatric high-grade gliomas, addressing a critical unmet need of increasing the radiation sensitivity of these highly aggressive tumors. Cancer Res; 78(14); 4007-21. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Child
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • Forkhead Box Protein M1 / metabolism*
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Homologous Recombination / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / pharmacology


  • CUDC-907
  • FOXM1 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein M1
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Morpholines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Histone Deacetylases