Long-standing efforts to identify the multifaceted roles of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) have positioned these agents as promising drug candidates in combatting cancer, autoimmune, neurodegenerative, and infectious diseases. The same has also encouraged the evaluation of multiple HDACi candidates in preclinical studies in cancer and other diseases as well as the FDA-approval towards clinical use for specific agents. In this review, we have discussed how the efficacy of immunotherapy can be leveraged by combining it with HDACis. We have also included a brief overview of the classification of HDACis as well as their various roles in physiological and pathophysiological scenarios to target key cellular processes promoting the initiation, establishment, and progression of cancer. Given the critical role of the tumor microenvironment (TME) towards the outcome of anticancer therapies, we have also discussed the effect of HDACis on different components of the TME. We then have gradually progressed into examples of specific pan-HDACis, class I HDACi, and selective HDACis that either have been incorporated into clinical trials or show promising preclinical effects for future consideration. Finally, we have included examples of ongoing trials for each of the above categories of HDACis as standalone agents or in combination with immunotherapeutic approaches.
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