Radiosensitization by SAHA in experimental colorectal carcinoma models-in vivo effects and relevance of histone acetylation status.

Research paper by Sigurd S Folkvord, Anne Hansen AH Ree, Torbjørn T Furre, Thomas T Halvorsen, Kjersti K Flatmark

Indexed on: 12 May '09Published on: 12 May '09Published in: International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics


Histone deacetylase inhibitors are being evaluated as antitumor agents in ongoing clinical trials, and promising preclinical results, combined with favorable toxicity profiles, have rendered the drugs as interesting candidates for combination with other treatment modalities, such as radiotherapy. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the radiosensitizing properties of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) and the possible requirement of histone hyperacetylation at radiation exposure.Radiosensitization by SAHA was assessed in a colorectal carcinoma cell line and in two colorectal xenograft models by analysis of clonogenic survival and tumor growth delay, respectively. Histone acetylation status at radiation exposure was evaluated by Western blot.In vitro, radiosensitization was demonstrated when cells were preincubated with SAHA, and, in the xenografts, tumor growth was delayed when the mice were treated with fractionated radiation combined with daily SAHA injections compared with radiation alone. Surprisingly, the SAHA-dependent growth delay was still present when radiation was delivered at restored baseline acetylation levels compared with maximal histone hyperacetylation.SAHA was an effective radiosensitizer in experimental colorectal carcinoma models, suggesting that histone deacetylase inhibition might constitute a valuable supplement to current multimodal treatment strategies in rectal cancer. The presence of histone hyperacetylation at radiation was not required to obtain an increased radiation response, questioning the validity of using histone hyperacetylation as a molecular marker for radiosensitivity.