Study of drug function based on similarity of pathway fingerprint

Protein Cell. 2012 Feb;3(2):132-9. doi: 10.1007/s13238-012-2011-z. Epub 2012 Mar 17.


Drugs sharing similar therapeutic function may not bind to the same group of targets. However, their targets may be involved in similar pathway profiles which are associated with certain pathological process. In this study, pathway fingerprint was introduced to indicate the profile of significant pathways being influenced by the targets of drugs. Then drug-drug network was further constructed based on significant similarity of pathway fingerprints. In this way, the functions of a drug may be hinted by the enriched therapeutic functions of its neighboring drugs. In the test of 911 FDA approved drugs with more than one known target, 471 drugs could be connected into networks. 760 significant associations of drug-therapeutic function were generated, among which around 60% of them were supported by scientific literatures or ATC codes of drug functional classification. Therefore, pathway fingerprints may be useful to further study on the potential function of known drugs, or the unknown function of new drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Interactions
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations