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Oncol Rep. 2009 Feb;21(2):515-21.

Effects of the histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid on the sensitivity of anaplastic thyroid cancer cell lines to imatinib.

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Department of Clinical Pathophysiology, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy.


New therapeutic approaches are mandatory for anaplastic thyroid cancer. We investigated the ability of a new combined treatment using valproic acid (VPA), the only clinically available histone deacetylase inhibitor, and the tyrosine-kinase inhibitor imatinib mesylate to control the cell growth of anaplastic thyroid cancer cell lines. We showed that treatment with imatinib alone is unable to affect the cell growth of anaplastic thyroid cancer cells, whereas in ARO cells, the combined treatment resulted in a cytostatic effect, with clinically achievable doses of imatinib and VPA. The effect is mediated by G1 growth arrest, acting through p21 expression and the impairment of AKT phosphorylation.

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