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Network Pharmacology to Uncover the Molecular Mechanisms of Action of LeiGongTeng for the Treatment of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Jing-Lin Mi, Chang Liu, Meng Xu, Ren-Sheng Wang

Department of Radiation Oncology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Radiation Oncology Clinical Medical Research Center of Guangxi, Nanning, Guangxi, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit Basic Res 2020; 26:e923431

DOI: 10.12659/MSMBR.923431

Available online: 2020-05-25

Published: 2020-05-25


BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a common head and neck cancer epidemic in southern China and southeast Asia. LeiGongTeng has been widely used for the treatment of cancers. The purpose of this study was to determine the pharmacological mechanism of action of LeiGongTeng in the treatment of NPC using a network pharmacological approach.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The traditional Chinese medicine systems pharmacology (TCMSP) database was used to identify active ingredients and associated target proteins for LeiGongTeng. Cytoscape was utilized to create a drug-disease network and topology analysis was conducted to analyze the degree of each ingredient. The Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins (STRING) online tool was applied for the construction and analysis of the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, while Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment and Gene Ontology (GO) functional analyses were utilized to determine drug-disease common genes.
RESULTS: 22 active ingredients including kaempferol, nobiletin, and beta-sitosterol, and 30 drug-disease common genes including VEGFA, CASP3, ESR1, and RELA were identified. GO analysis indicated that 94 biological processes, including RNA polymerase II, apoptotic process, response to drug, cell adhesion, and response to hypoxia, were found to be associated with NPC. The KEGG enrichment analysis showed that 58 pathways, including the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, microRNAs in cancer, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling pathway and pathways in cancer were found to be associated with NPC.
CONCLUSIONS: LeiGongTeng exerts its therapeutic effect through various biological processes and signaling pathways since it acts on several target genes. Systematic pharmacology can be used to predict the underlying function of LeiGongTeng and its mechanism of action in NPC.

Keywords: Medicine, Chinese Traditional, Pharmacologic Actions