P53-dependent and p53-independent anticancer effects of different histone deacetylase inhibitors

J. Sonnemann, C. Marx, S. Becker, S. Wittig, C. D. Palani, O. H. Krämer, J. F. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background:Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are promising antineoplastic agents, but their precise mechanisms of actions are not well understood. In particular, the relevance of p53 for HDACi-induced effects has not been fully elucidated. We investigated the anticancer effects of four structurally distinct HDACi, vorinostat, entinostat, apicidin and valproic acid, using isogenic HCT-116 colon cancer cell lines differing in p53 status.Methods:Effects were assessed by MTT assay, flow-cytometric analyses of propidium iodide uptake, mitochondrial depolarisation and cell-cycle distribution, as well as by gene expression profiling.Results:Vorinostat was equally effective in p53 wild-type and null cells, whereas entinostat was less effective in p53 null cells. Histone deacetylase inhibitors treatment suppressed the expression of MDM2 and increased the abundance of p53. Combination treatments showed that vorinostat enhanced the cytotoxic activity of TRAIL and bortezomib, independent of the cellular p53 status. Investigations into the effects of an inhibitor of the sirtuin class of HDAC, tenovin-1, revealed that tenovin-1-mediated cell death hinged on p53.Conclusion:These results demonstrate that vorinostat activates p53, but does not require p53 for inducing its anticancer action. Yet they also demonstrate that entinostat-induced cytotoxic effects partially depend on p53, indicating that different HDACi have a different requirement for p53.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-667
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • MDM2
  • NF-kB
  • apoptosis
  • bortezomib
  • caspase
  • cell cycle
  • histone deacetylase inhibitor
  • p53
  • sirtuin inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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