Characterization of anticancer agents by their growth inhibitory activity and relationships to mechanism of action and structure

Anticancer Drug Des. 2000 Apr;15(2):79-98.


An analysis of the growth inhibitory potency of 122 anticancer agents available from the National Cancer Institute anticancer drug screen is presented. Methods of singular value decomposition (SVD) were applied to determine the matrix of distances between all compounds. These SVD-derived dissimilarity distances were used to cluster compounds that exhibit similar tumor growth inhibitory activity patterns against 60 human cancer cell lines. Cluster analysis divides the 122 standard agents into 25 statistically distinct groups. The first eight groups include structurally diverse compounds with reactive functionalities that act as DNA-damaging agents while the remaining 17 groups include compounds that inhibit nucleic acid biosynthesis and mitosis. Examination of the average activity patterns across the 60 tumor cell lines reveals unique 'fingerprints' associated with each group. A diverse set of structural features are observed for compounds within these groups, with frequent occurrences of strong within-group structural similarities. Clustering of cell types by their response to the 122 anticancer agents divides the 60 cell types into 21 groups. The strongest within-panel groupings were found for the renal, leukemia and ovarian cell panels. These results contribute to the basis for comparisons between log(GI(50)) screening patterns of the 122 anticancer agents and additional tested compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / classification
  • Antineoplastic Agents / toxicity*
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Molecular Structure
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • United States


  • Antineoplastic Agents