Aims: Aberrant histone acetylation has been associated with malignancy and histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are currently being investigated in numerous clinical trials. So far, the malignancy most sensitive to HDAC inhibitors has been cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). The reason for this sensitivity is unclear and studies on HDAC expression and histone acetylation in CTCL are lacking. The aim of this study was to address this issue. Methods and results: The immunohistochemical expression of HDAC1, HDAC2, HDAC6, and acetylated H4 was examined in 73 CTCLs and the results related to histological subtypes and overall survival. HDAC1 was most abundantly expressed (P < 0.0001), followed by HDAC2; HDAC6 and H4 acetylation were equally expressed. HDAC2 (P = 0.001) and H4 acetylation (P = 0.03) were significantly more common in aggressive than indolent CTCL subtypes. In contrast, no differences were observed for HDAC1 and HDAC6. In a Cox analysis, elevated HDAC6 was the only parameter showing significant influence on survival (P = 0.04). Conclusions: High expression of HDAC2 and acetylated H4 is more common in aggressive than indolent CTCL. HDAC6 expression is associated with a favorable outcome independent of the subtype.