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Mol Cancer Ther. 2008 Jun;7(6):1751-61. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-0560.

Histone deacetylase inhibitors induce growth arrest, apoptosis, and differentiation in clear cell sarcoma models.

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  • 1Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Clear cell sarcoma is an aggressive malignancy occurring most commonly in the distal extremities of young adults, characterized by t(12;22)(q13;q12) creating the chimeric fusion oncoprotein EWS-ATF1. We assessed growth inhibition and differentiation effects of histone deacetylase inhibitors MS-275 and romidepsin (depsipeptide, FK228) on clear cell sarcoma cells and evaluated drug sensitivity among related translocation-associated sarcomas and other cell models. Three clear cell sarcoma cell lines, seven other sarcomas, six nonsarcoma malignant cell lines, and two nonneoplastic mesenchymal cell models were treated with MS-275 or romidepsin. Growth inhibition was assayed by monolayer 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. Induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis were assessed by propidium iodide/Annexin V flow cytometry in monolayer and spheroid cultures and by immunoblotting analysis. Expression levels of key genes involved in mesenchymal differentiation and of EWS-ATF1 were measured by quantitative real-time PCR in clear cell sarcoma cells treated with histone deacetylase inhibitors. MS-275 and romidepsin inhibited growth in clear cell sarcoma cells by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Sarcomas showed greater sensitivity than other tumor types, with clear cell sarcomas most sensitive of all, whereas nonmalignant mesenchymal cells were highly resistant. MS-275 at 1 micromol/L and romidepsin at 1 nmol/L induced histone H3 acetylation, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and differentiation in clear cell sarcoma cells within 24 hours. Histone deacetylase inhibitors increased expression of SOX9, MYOD1, and PPARG and decreased EWS-ATF1 expression in clear cell sarcoma cells. Histone deacetylase inhibitors show promising preclinical activity in multiple clear cell sarcoma models.

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