A gene known as HDAC1 may be a good target for drugs to treat multidrug-resistant neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in immature nerve cells and is prevalent in children.
Drug resistance could explain why about 50% of high-risk neuroblastoma patients die of the disease. Nino Keshelava, M.D., of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and colleagues studied several human neuroblastoma cell lines to identify genes that cause drug resistance.
They found that HDAC1 was overexpressed in multidrug-resistant cells, compared with drug-sensitive cells. Blocking HDAC1 made the cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs that treat neuroblastoma.
?This gene is of particular interest because [HDAC] inhibitors are a relatively new class of cancer chemotherapeutic agents undergoing preclinical testing for clinical development in the treatment of drug-resistant neuroblastoma,? the authors write.