Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors and Phenotypical Transformation of Cancer Cells

Anna Wawruszak, Joanna Kalafut, Estera Okon, Jakub Czapinski, Marta Halasa, Alicja Przybyszewska, Paulina Miziak, Karolina Okla, Adolfo Rivero Müller, Andrzej Stepulak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) are a group of potent epigenetic drugs which have been investigated for their therapeutic potential in various clinical disorders, including hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Currently, several HDIs are already in clinical use and many more are on clinical trials. HDIs have shown efficacy to inhibit initiation and progression of cancer cells. Nevertheless, both pro-invasive and anti-invasive activities of HDIs have been reported, questioning their impact in carcinogenesis. The aim of this review is to compile and discuss the most recent findings on the effect of HDIs on the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process in human cancers. We have summarized the impact of HDIs on epithelial (E-cadherin, beta-catenin) and mesenchymal (N-cadherin, vimentin) markers, EMT activators (TWIST, SNAIL, SLUG, SMAD, ZEB), as well as morphology, migration and invasion potential of cancer cells. We further discuss the use of HDIs as monotherapy or in combination with existing or novel anti-neoplastic drugs in relation to changes in EMT.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
Number of pages31
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • HDI
  • HDAC
  • MET
  • catenin
  • Vimentin
  • Cadherin
  • EMT

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