Histone deacetylase inhibitors dysregulate DNA repair proteins and antagonize metastasis-associated processes

Nicole Kiweler, Désirée Wünsch, Matthias Wirth, Nisintha Mahendrarajah, Günter Schneider, Roland H. Stauber, Walburgis Brenner, Falk Butter, Oliver H. Krämer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We set out to determine whether clinically tested epigenetic drugs against class I histone deacetylases (HDACs) affect hallmarks of the metastatic process. Methods: We treated permanent and primary renal, lung, and breast cancer cells with the class I histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) entinostat (MS-275) and valproic acid (VPA), the replicative stress inducer hydroxyurea (HU), the DNA-damaging agent cis-platinum (L-OHP), and the cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ). We used proteomics, quantitative PCR, immunoblot, single cell DNA damage assays, and flow cytometry to analyze cell fate after drug exposure. Results: We show that HDACi interfere with DNA repair protein expression and trigger DNA damage and apoptosis alone and in combination with established chemotherapeutics. Furthermore, HDACi disrupt the balance of cell adhesion protein expression and abrogate TGFβ-induced cellular plasticity of transformed cells. Conclusion: HDACi suppress the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and compromise the DNA integrity of cancer cells. These data encourage further testing of HDACi against tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-356
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Adhesion
  • DNA damage
  • EMT
  • HDACi
  • MET
  • TGFβ


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