Background: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are effective in a subset of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We previously showed that E-cadherin expression associates with gefitinib activity. Here, we correlated the expressions of ErbB-3 and E-cadherin in NSCLC tumors and cell lines, their effect on response to gefitinib, and induction of both by the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors vorinostat and SNDX-275. Methods: Real-time RT-PCR was carried out on RNA isolated from 91 fresh-frozen NSCLC samples and from 21 NSCLC lines. Protein expression was evaluated with western blot and flow cytometry. Apoptosis was assessed using vibrant apoptosis assay. Results: Expressions of E-cadherin and ErbB-3 correlated significantly in primary tumors (r = 0.38, P < 0.001) and in cell lines (r = 0.88, P < 0.001). Cotransfection of ErbB-3 and E-cadherin in a gefitinib-resistant cell line showed enhanced apoptotic response to gefitinib. vorinostat and SNDX-275 induced ErbB-3 and E-cadherin in gefitinib-resistant cell lines. When gefitinib-resistant lines were treated with vorinostat and gefitinib, synergistic effects were detected in four of the five lines tested. Conclusion: ErbB-3 and E-cadherin are coexpressed and induced by HDAC inhibitors. For tumors with low ErbB-3 and E-cadherin expressions, the combination of HDAC and EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors increased expression of both genes and produced more than additive apoptotic effect.