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Blood. 2009 Jul 9;114(2):380-93. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-10-182758. Epub 2009 Apr 21.

The histone deacetylase inhibitors LAQ824 and LBH589 do not require death receptor signaling or a functional apoptosome to mediate tumor cell death or therapeutic efficacy.

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  • 1Cancer Therapeutics Program, Gene Regulation Laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Trescowthick Research Laboratories, East Melbourne, Australia.


LAQ824 and LBH589 (panobinostat) are histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) developed as cancer therapeutics and we have used the Emu-myc lymphoma model to identify the molecular events required for their antitumor effects. Induction of tumor cell death was necessary for these agents to mediate therapeutic responses in vivo and both HDACi engaged the intrinsic apoptotic cascade that did not require p53. Death receptor pathway blockade had no effect on the therapeutic activities of LAQ824 and LBH589; however, overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-X(L) protected lymphoma cells from HDACi-induced killing and suppressed their therapeutic activities. Deletion of Apaf-1 or Caspase-9 delayed HDACi-induced lymphoma killing in vitro and in vivo, associated with suppression of many biochemical indicators of apoptosis, but did not provide long-term resistance to these agents and failed to inhibit their therapeutic activities. Emu-myc lymphomas lacking a functional apoptosome displayed morphologic and biochemical features of autophagy after treatment with LAQ824 and LBH589, indicating that, in the absence of a complete intrinsic apoptosis pathway involving apoptosome formation, these HDACi can still mediate a therapeutic response. Our data indicate that damage to the mitochondria is the key event necessary for LAQ824 and LBH589 to mediate tumor cell death and a robust therapeutic response.

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