Histone deacetylase inhibitors are a group of recently developed compounds that modulate cell growth and survival. We evaluated the effects of the histone deacetylase inhibitor MGCD0103 on growth of pancreatic carcinoma models following single agent treatment and in combination with gemcitabine. MGCD0103 inhibited tumor cell growth and acted synergistically with gemcitabine to enhance its cytotoxic effects. Gene expression analysis identified the cell cycle pathway as one of the most highly modulated gene groups. Our data suggest that MGCD0103 + gemcitabine might be an effective treatment for gemcitabine-refractory pancreatic cancer. (Cancer Sci 2011; 102: 1201–1207)