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Antiproliferative Activity Predictor: A New Reliable In Silico Tool for Drug Response Prediction against NCI60 Panel

  • Autori: Martorana A.; La Monica G.; Bono A.; Mannino S.; Buscemi S.; Palumbo Piccionello A.; Gentile C.; Lauria A.; Peri D.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


In vitro antiproliferative assays still represent one of the most important tools in the anticancer drug discovery field, especially to gain insights into the mechanisms of action of anticancer small molecules. The NCI-DTP (National Cancer Institute Developmental Therapeutics Program) undoubtedly represents the most famous project aimed at rapidly testing thousands of compounds against multiple tumor cell lines (NCI60). The large amount of biological data stored in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) database and many other databases has led researchers in the fields of computational biology and medicinal chemistry to develop tools to predict the anticancer properties of new agents in advance. In this work, based on the available antiproliferative data collected by the NCI and the manipulation of molecular descriptors, we propose the new in silico Antiproliferative Activity Predictor (AAP) tool to calculate the GI50 values of input structures against the NCI60 panel. This ligand-based protocol, validated by both internal and external sets of structures, has proven to be highly reliable and robust. The obtained GI50 values of a test set of 99 structures present an error of less than ±1 unit. The AAP is more powerful for GI50 calculation in the range of 4–6, showing that the results strictly correlate with the experimental data. The encouraging results were further supported by the examination of an in-house database of curcumin analogues that have already been studied as antiproliferative agents. The AAP tool identified several potentially active compounds, and a subsequent evaluation of a set of molecules selected by the NCI for the one-dose/five-dose antiproliferative assays confirmed the great potential of our protocol for the development of new anticancer small molecules. The integration of the AAP tool in the free web service DRUDIT provides an interesting device for the discovery and/or optimization of anticancer drugs to the medicinal chemistry community. The training set will be updated with new NCI-tested compounds to cover more chemical spaces, activities, and cell lines. Currently, the same protocol is being developed for predicting the TGI (total growth inhibition) and LC50 (median lethal concentration) parameters to estimate toxicity profiles of small molecules.