Iwahashi S, Shimada M, Utsunomiya T, Morine Y, Imura S, Ikemoto T, Mori H, Hanaoka J, Saito Y.
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) is strongly associated with epigenetic regulation and carcinogenesis, and its inhibitors induce the differentiation or apoptosis of cancer cells. Valproic acid (VPA) is one of the clinically available HDAC inhibitors. We investigated the anticancer effects of VPA in combination with gemcitabine (GEM) in the human cholangiocarcinoma cell line HuCCT1, and explored the mechanisms of the anticancer effects using microarray analysis. The anticancer effects of VPA or gemcitabine (GEM), and the effects of VPA combined with GEM, were studied by a cell proliferation assay. A microarray analysis was performed and the genes were picked up using GeneSpring GX11.5, followed by Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA) and determination of gene expression by RT-PCR. GEM (5 nM) and VPA (0.5 mM) reduced proliferation by 23%, which significantly augmented the anticancer effect of GEM alone or VPA alone (P<0.01). Using microarray analysis, 43 genes were identified with the comparison between the GEM group and the GEM plus VPA combination group. Interactions were identified between genes of the 'Cellular Development' network relevant to the differentiation of cancer cells using IPA. Furthermore, GEM combined with VPA up-regulated the HLA-DRA expression compared to the single agents (P<0.01). VPA augmented the effects of GEM by enhancing the gene network mainly including HLA-DRA, possibly through the modification of cancer cell differentiation.