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Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2017 Jan-Feb;23(1):34-38. doi: 10.4103/1319-3767.199136.

Enhanced efficacy of 5-fluorouracil in combination with a dual histone deacetylase and phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase inhibitor (CUDC-907) in colorectal cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Stem Cell Unit, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • 2Department of Orthodontics, College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • 3Department of Anatomy, Stem Cell Unit, College of Medicine; Prince Naif Health Research Center, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used in the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the efficacy of 5-FU as a single agent is limited, with multiple undesired side effects. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to assess the efficacy of CUDC-907 (a dual inhibitor of histone deacetylase and phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase) in combination with 5-FU against CRC cells.


Cell viability was determined using AlamarBlue and colony formation assays. Acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining and flow cytometry were used to measure apoptotic and necrotic events, as well as cell cycle progression. Immunoblotting was used to assess acetylation of histone H3 and phosphorylation of AKT.


Our data revealed enhanced toxicity of CUDC-907 against HCT116, RKO, COLO-205, and HT-29 CRC cells when combined with 5-FU. Similarly, the colony formation capability of HCT116 cells was suppressed by the combination treatment. Cells treated with CUDC-907 and 5-FU underwent apoptosis and necrosis, and exhibited increased polyploidy. Furthermore, CRC cells treated with CUDC-907 exhibited a higher degree of histone H3 lysine 9 acetylation (H3K9ac) and reduced AKT phosphorylation (Ser473).


Our data revealed, for the first time, the enhanced inhibitory effect of CUDC-907 against CRC cells when combined with 5-FU, supporting the application of this combination as a potential therapeutic strategy in CRC treatment.

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