Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most lethal primary brain tumor in adults despite contemporary gold-standard first-line treatment strategies. This type of tumor recurs in virtually all patients and no commonly accepted standard treatment exists for the recurrent disease. Therefore, advances in all scientific and clinical aspects of GBM are urgently needed. Epigenetic mechanisms are one of the major factors contributing to the pathogenesis of cancers, including glioblastoma. Epigenetic modulators that regulate gene expression by altering the epigenome and non-histone proteins are being exploited as therapeutic drug targets. Over the last decade, numerous preclinical and clinical studies on histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have shown promising results in various cancers. This article provides an overview of the anticancer mechanisms of HDAC inhibitors and the role of HDAC isoforms in GBM. We also summarize current knowledge on HDAC inhibitors on the basis of preclinical studies and emerging clinical data.
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