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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

A Network Pharmacology Approach to Explore the Potential Mechanisms of Huangqin-Baishao Herb Pair in Treatment of Cancer

Tian Xu, Qingguo Wang, Min Liu

School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e923199

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.923199

Available online: 2020-05-08

Published: 2020-07-01


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify the bioactive ingredients of Huangqin-Baishao herb pair and to reveal its anti-cancer mechanisms through a pharmacology approach.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Detailed information on compounds in the HQ-BS herb pair was obtained from the Traditional Chinese medicine systems pharmacology (TCMSP) and screened by the criteria of OB ≥30% and DL ≥0.18. A systematic drug targeting model (SysDT) was used for compound targets prediction, and then the targets were analyzed for Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment. The protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of HQ-BS targets was constructed, after identifying core networks through Cytoscape plugins.
RESULTS: We found 47 bioactive compounds of HQ-BS and 107 human-derived targets. A compound target network and a target signal pathway network were constructed and used for topological analysis. Kaempferol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, wogonin, and oroxylin-a were identified as core compounds and pathways in cancer. The calcium signaling pathway, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, TNF signaling pathway, chemical carcinogenesis, estrogen signaling pathway, proteoglycans in cancer, HIF-1 signaling pathway, thyroid hormone signaling pathway, VEGF signaling pathway, small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, NOD-like receptor signaling pathway, and T cell receptor signaling pathway were found to be potential signals of HQ-BS in treating cancer. Through PPI network analysis, TNF signaling pathway, tryptophan metabolism, proteoglycans in cancer, cell cycle, and chemical carcinogenesis sub-networks were obtained.
CONCLUSIONS: HQ-BS contains various bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, phytosterols, and other compounds, and these compounds can inhibit or activate multiple targets and pathways against cancer.

Keywords: Computer Communication Networks, Medicine, Chinese Traditional, Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action, Protein Interaction Maps, Ethnopharmacology