Cancer Treat Rev 2017 Sep 6;59:33-45. Epub 2017 Jul 6.
Sarcoma Biology Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit Street, Jackson 1115, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Electronic address:
Sarcomas are a rare group of malignant tumors originating from mesenchymal stem cells. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are currently the only standard treatments for sarcoma. However, their response rates to chemotherapy are quite low. Toxic side effects and multi-drug chemoresistance make treatment even more challenging. Therefore, better drugs to treat sarcomas are needed. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDAC inhibitors, HDACi, HDIs) are epigenetic modifying agents that can inhibit sarcoma growth in vitro and in vivo through a variety of pathways, including inducing tumor cell apoptosis, causing cell cycle arrest, impairing tumor invasion and preventing metastasis. Importantly, preclinical studies have revealed that HDIs can not only sensitize sarcomas to chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but also increase treatment responses when combined with other chemotherapeutic drugs. Several phase I and II clinical trials have been conducted to assess the efficacy of HDIs either as monotherapy or in combination with standard chemotherapeutic agents or targeted therapeutic drugs for sarcomas. Combination regimen for sarcomas appear to be more promising than monotherapy when using HDIs. This review summarizes our current understanding and therapeutic applications of HDIs in sarcomas.