Aberrant janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling is involved in the oncogenesis of several cancers. Suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) genes and SH2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 1 (SHP1) proteins, which are negative regulators of JAK/STAT signaling, have been reported to have tumor suppressor functions. However, in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, the mechanisms that regulate SOCS and SHP1 genes, and the cause of abnormalities in the JAK/STAT signaling pathway, remain largely unknown. The present study shows that trichostatin A (TSA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, leads to the hyperacetylation of histones associated with the SOCS1 and SOCS3 promoters, but not the SHP1 promoter in CRC cells. This indicates that histone modifications are involved in the regulation of SOCS1 and SOCS3. Moreover, upregulation of SOCS1 and SOCS3 expression was achieved using TSA, which also significantly downregulated JAK2/STAT3 signaling in CRC cells. We also demonstrate that TSA suppresses the growth of CRC cells, and induces G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through the regulation of downstream targets of JAK2/STAT3 signaling, including Bcl-2, survivin and p16ink4a. Therefore, our data demonstrate that TSA may induce SOCS1 and SOCS3 expression by inducing histone modifications and consequently inhibits JAK2/STAT3 signaling in CRC cells. These results also establish a mechanistic link between the inhibition of JAK2/STAT3 signaling and the anticancer action of TSA in CRC cells. Mol. Carcinog. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.