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Cancer drug development has moved from conventional cytotoxic chemotherapeutics to a more mechanism-based targeted approach towards the common goal of tumour growth arrest. The rapid progress in chromatin research and understanding epigenetic control has supplied a plethora of potential targets for intervention in cancer. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) have been widely implicated in growth and transcriptional control, and inhibition of HDAC activity using small molecules causes apoptosis in tumour cells. Here, we review HDAC inhibitors, together with their current status of clinical development and potential utility in cancer therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Chemother

Publication Date



16 Suppl 4


64 - 67


Antineoplastic Agents, Apoptosis, Cell Proliferation, Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic, Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic, Drug Delivery Systems, Drug Resistance, Neoplasm, Enzyme Inhibitors, Female, Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors, Histone Deacetylases, Humans, Male, Neoplasms, Risk Factors, Sensitivity and Specificity, Treatment Outcome