Open Access Research article

Expression of histone deacetylases 1, 2 and 3 in urothelial bladder cancer

Cédric Poyet1, Bastian Jentsch2, Thomas Hermanns1, Daniel Schweckendiek1, Hans-Helge Seifert14, Martin Schmidtpeter1, Tullio Sulser1, Holger Moch2, Peter J Wild2 and Glen Kristiansen35*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Urology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

2 Institute of Pathology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

3 Department of Pathology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

4 Department of Urology, Hegau-Bodensee Hospital, Singen, Germany

5 Institute of Pathology, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, Bonn D-53127, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Clinical Pathology 2014, 14:10  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-14-10

Published: 13 March 2014



Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are known to be associated with an overexpression in different types of cancer such as colon and prostate cancer. In this study we aimed to evaluate the protein expression of class I HDACs in urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.


A tissue microarray containing 348 tissuesamples from 174 patients with a primary urothelial carcinoma of the bladder was immunohistochemically stained for HDAC 1, 2 and 3. Intensity of staining was evaluated and the association with clinico-pathological features and prognosis was assessed.


High HDAC expression levels were found in 40 to 60% of all investigated urothelial carcinomas (HDAC-1: 40%, HDAC-2: 42%, HDAC-3: 59%).

HDAC-1 and HDAC-2 were significantly associated with higher tumour grades.

Although all three markers could not predict progression in univariate analyses, high HDAC-1 expression was associated with a trend toward poorer prognosis. Patients with high-grade tumours and high expression levels of HDAC-1 were more likely to progress compared to all other patients (p < 0.05).


High-grade noninvasive papillary bladder tumours are associated with high expression levels of HDAC-1 and HDAC-2. High grade tumours in combination with high expression of HDAC-1 showed a worse prognosis than the other tumours. The high expression levels of HDACs observed particularly in high grade urothelial bladder cancer clearly warrant subsequent studies on the potential use of HDAC inhibitors as a novel therapeutic approach.

Class I HDACs; Urothelial cancer; Molecular markers