We mutated the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) catalytic domain to inhibit binding of the chaperone Cdc37 and ATP, mimicking the actions of a FAK kinase inhibitor. We reexpressed mutant and wild-type FAK in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells from which endogenous FAK had been deleted, genetically fixing one axis of a FAK inhibitor combination high-content phenotypic screen to discover drugs that may synergize with FAK inhibitors. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors represented the major class of compounds that potently induced multiparametric phenotypic changes when FAK was rendered kinase-defective or inhibited pharmacologically in SCC cells. Combined FAK and HDAC inhibitors arrest proliferation and induce apoptosis in a subset of cancer cell lines in vitro and efficiently inhibit their growth as tumors in vivo. Mechanistically, HDAC inhibitors potentiate inhibitor-induced FAK inactivation and impair FAK-associated nuclear YAP in sensitive cancer cell lines. Here, we report the discovery of a new, clinically actionable, synergistic combination between FAK and HDAC inhibitors.
- Focal Adhesion Inase
- Histone Deacetylase
- Drug Combination
- High-Content Phenotypic Screening