The Novel Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor, OBP-801, Induces Apoptosis in Rhabdoid Tumors by Releasing the Silencing of NOXA

Mol Cancer Ther. 2020 Oct;19(10):1992-2000. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0243. Epub 2020 Aug 26.


Rhabdoid tumor is an aggressive, early childhood tumor. Biallelic inactivation of the SWI/SNF-related matrix-associated actin-dependent regulator of chromatin subfamily B member 1 (SMARCB1)/integrase interactor 1 (INI1) gene is the only common genetic feature in rhabdoid tumors. Loss of SMARCB1 function results in downregulation of several tumor suppressor genes including p16, p21, and NOXA The novel histone deacetylase inhibitor, OBP-801, induces p21 and has shown efficacy against various cancers. In our study, OBP-801 strongly inhibited the cell growth of all rhabdoid tumor cell lines in WST-8 assay. However, Western blotting and cell-cycle analysis revealed that OBP-801 did not activate the P21-RB pathway in some cell lines. p21 knockout indicated that p21 did not dominate the OBP-801 antitumor effect in rhabdoid tumor cell lines. We discovered that OBP-801 induced NOXA expression and caspase-dependent apoptosis in rhabdoid tumor cell lines independent of TP53. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that OBP-801 acetylated histone proteins and recruited RNA polymerase II to the transcription start site (TSS) of the NOXA promotor. Moreover, OBP-801 recruited BRG1 and BAF155, which are members of the SWI/SNF complex, to the TSS of the NOXA promotor. These results suggest that OBP-801 epigenetically releases the silencing of NOXA and induces apoptosis in rhabdoid tumors. OBP-801 strongly inhibited tumor growth in human rhabdoid tumor xenograft mouse models in vivo Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling and cleaved caspase-3 were stained in tumors treated with OBP-801. In conclusion, OBP-801 induces apoptosis in rhabdoid tumor cells by epigenetically releasing the silencing of NOXA, which is a key mediator of rhabdoid tumor apoptosis. The epigenetic approach for NOXA silencing with OBP-801 is promising for rhabdoid tumor treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Female
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism*
  • Rhabdoid Tumor / drug therapy*


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • PMAIP1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2