A genomic approach to predict synergistic combinations for breast cancer treatment.
We leverage genomic and biochemical data to identify synergistic drug regimens for breast cancer. In order to study the mechanism of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors valproic acid (VPA) and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) in breast cancer, we generated and validated genomic profiles of drug response using a series of breast cancer cell lines sensitive to each drug. These genomic profiles were then used to model drug response in human breast tumors and show significant correlation between VPA and SAHA response profiles in multiple breast tumor data sets, highlighting their similar mechanism of action. The genes deregulated by VPA and SAHA converge on the cell cycle pathway (Bayes factor 5.21 and 5.94, respectively; P-value 10(-8.6) and 10(-9), respectively). In particular, VPA and SAHA upregulate key cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors. In two independent datasets, cancer cells treated with CDK inhibitors have similar gene expression profile changes to the cellular response to HDAC inhibitors. Together, these results led us to hypothesize that VPA and SAHA may interact synergistically with CDK inhibitors such as PD-033299. Experiments show that HDAC and CDK inhibitors have statistically significant synergy in both breast cancer cell lines and primary 3-dimensional cultures of cells from pleural effusions of patients. Therefore, synergistic relationships between HDAC and CDK inhibitors may provide an effective combinatorial regimen for breast cancer. Importantly, these studies provide an example of how genomic analysis of drug-response profiles can be used to design rational drug combinations for cancer treatment.The Pharmacogenomics Journal advance online publication, 15 November 2011; doi:10.1038/tpj.2011.48.