Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are a class of epigenetic modulators overexpressed in numerous types of cancers. Consequently, HDAC inhibitors (HDACIs) have emerged as promising antineoplastic agents. Unfortunately, the most developed HDACIs suffer from poor selectivity towards a specific isoform, limiting their clinical applicability. Among the isoforms, HDAC1 represents a crucial target for designing selective HDACIs, being aberrantly expressed in several malignancies. Accordingly, the development of a predictive in silico tool employing a large set of HDACIs (aminophenylbenzamide derivatives) is herein presented for the first time. Software Phase was used to derive a 3D-QSAR model, employing as alignment rule a common-features pharmacophore built on 20 highly active/selective HDAC1 inhibitors. The 3D-QSAR model was generated using 370 benzamide-based HDACIs, which yielded an excellent correlation coefficient value (R2 = 0.958) and a satisfactory predictive power (Q2 = 0.822; Q2 F3 = 0.894). The model was validated (r2 ext_ts = 0.794) using an external test set (113 compounds not used for generating the model), and by employing a decoys set and the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, evaluating the Güner–Henry score (GH) and the enrichment factor (EF). The results confirmed a satisfactory predictive power of the 3D-QSAR model. This latter represents a useful filtering tool for screening large chemical databases, finding novel derivatives with improved HDAC1 inhibitory activity.
- Isoform-selective histone deacetylase inhibitors
- Ligand-based model
- Pharmacophore modeling