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J Korean Med Sci. 2013 Feb;28(2):237-46. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2013.28.2.237. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Improved therapeutic effect against leukemia by a combination of the histone methyltransferase inhibitor chaetocin and the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A.

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Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Hwasun, Korea.


SUV39H1 is a histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9)-specific methyltransferase that is important for heterochromatin formation and the regulation of gene expression. Chaetocin specifically inhibits SUV39H1, resulted in H3K9 methylation reduction as well as reactivation of silenced genes in cancer cells. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors inhibit deacetylases and accumulate high levels of acetylation lead to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In this study, we demonstrated that treatment with chaetocin enhanced apoptosis in human leukemia HL60, KG1, Kasumi, K562, and THP1 cells. In addition, chaetocin induced the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2B (p15), E-cadherin (CDH1) and frizzled family receptor 9 (FZD9) through depletion of SUV39H1 and reduced H3K9 methylation in their promoters. Co-treatment with chaetocin and HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) dramatically increased apoptosis and produced greater activation of genes. Furthermore, this combined treatment significantly increased loss of SUV39H1 and reduced histone H3K9 trimethylation responses accompanied by increased acetylation. Importantly, co-treatment with chaetocin and TSA produced potent antileukemic effects in leukemia cells derived from patients. These in vitro findings suggest that combination therapy with SUV39H1 and HDAC inhibitors may be of potential value in the treatment of leukemia.


Histone Deacetylase; Histone Methyltransferase; Leukemia; Tumor Suppressor Genes

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