Target and Mechanism of the Xihuang Pill Based on Network Pharmacology for Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Publication date: Jul 14, 2023

Lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) accounts for 30% of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC), and an effective pharmacological treatment for LUSC isn’t yet available. The Xihuang Pill is a potent Chinese medicinal preparation widely prescribed for the management of LUSC. The study intended to use the network-pharmacology method to ascertain the effective active ingredients, targets of action, and cellular-signal transduction involved in the prevention and treatment of LUSC when using the Xihuang Pill and to identify the mechanism of action of the pills against LUSC, to provide a more adequate scientific basis for subsequent studies. The research team performed a genetic study. The study took place at Shanghai. The research team: (1) created the feature sets, for both the LUSC and normal features, using the Cancer Genome Atlas’ (TCGA’s) LUSC dataset; (2) performed a weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA) of the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) using the R package WGCNA; (3) searched for the chemical components of the Xihuang Pill using the Traditional Chinese Medicine Systematic Pharmacology Database and Analysis Platform (TCMSP) and the Herb Group Identification Platform, and (4) selected the novel the Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC) algorithm to screen the hub genes. The study found 8713 DEGs between the LUSC and normal groups. The top ten, important, downregulated genes included: (1) advanced glycosylation end product (AGER), (2) chitinase, acidic pseudogene 2 (CHIAP2), (3) CD300 molecule like family member G (CD300LG), (4) solute carrier family 6 member 4 (SLC6A4), (5) carboxypeptidase B2 (CPB2), (6) claudin 18 (CLDN18), (7) gamma-glutamyltransferase light chain 1 (GGTLC1), (8) gastrokine 2 (GKN2), (9) progastricsin (PGC), and (10) pulmonary surfactant-associated protein C (SFTPC). The top 10 upregulated genes included: (1) cancer susceptibility 9 (CASC9), (2) homeobox C13 (HOXC13), (3) keratin 6a (KRT6A), (4) desmoglein 3 (DSG3), (5) keratin 16 (KRT16), (6) forkhead box E1 (FOXE1), (7) preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME), (8) calmodulin-like protein 3 (CALML3), (9) KRT68, and (10) aldo-keto reductase family 1 member B10 (AKR1B10). The study found 41 active ingredients and 843 targets for the Xihuang Pill. The PPI network included 10 hub genes, including cyclin dependent kinase 1 (CDK1), cyclin B1 (CCNB1), cyclin B2 (CCNB2), polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1), aurora kinase B (AURKB), baculoviral IAP repeat containing 5 (BIRC5), cyclin A2 (CCNA2), aurora kinase A (AURKA), centrosome-associated protein E (CENPE), and threonine tyrosine kinase (TTK), which were the principal target genes at the core of the gene-pathway network for the drug compound to central-target relationship. The enrichment analyses used the overlapping genes and the 10 hub genes and found 390 biological processes (BPs), 25 molecular functions (MFs), 43 cellular components (CCs), and 10 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. The main enrichment occurred in the regulation of protein serine-threonine kinase activity, mitotic nuclear division, progesterone-mediated oocyte maturation, and the cell cycle. The study found the targets and relevant pathways of the hub genes of Xihuang Pill using biological analysis and molecular docking and demonstrated the interactions of critical chemical compounds with the hub’s targeted genes were. More research is necessary to further determine whether the Xihuang Pill can improve LUSC patients’ survival rate by regulation of those genes.

Concepts Keywords
Cancers Cyclin
Cd300molecule Found
Homeobox Genes
Pharmacology Hub
Shanghai Included


Type Source Name
disease MESH Squamous Cell Carcinoma
disease MESH lung cancers
pathway REACTOME Signal Transduction
disease MESH Cancer
drug DRUGBANK Huperzine B
drug DRUGBANK Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
drug DRUGBANK Protein C
disease MESH melanoma
pathway KEGG Melanoma
drug DRUGBANK L-Threonine
drug DRUGBANK L-Tyrosine
pathway KEGG Progesterone-mediated oocyte maturation
pathway KEGG Cell cycle

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