Cancer Drug Response Profile scan (CDRscan): A Deep Learning Model That Predicts Drug Effectiveness from Cancer Genomic Signature

Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 11;8(1):8857. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27214-6.


In the era of precision medicine, cancer therapy can be tailored to an individual patient based on the genomic profile of a tumour. Despite the ever-increasing abundance of cancer genomic data, linking mutation profiles to drug efficacy remains a challenge. Herein, we report Cancer Drug Response profile scan (CDRscan) a novel deep learning model that predicts anticancer drug responsiveness based on a large-scale drug screening assay data encompassing genomic profiles of 787 human cancer cell lines and structural profiles of 244 drugs. CDRscan employs a two-step convolution architecture, where the genomic mutational fingerprints of cell lines and the molecular fingerprints of drugs are processed individually, then merged by 'virtual docking', an in silico modelling of drug treatment. Analysis of the goodness-of-fit between observed and predicted drug response revealed a high prediction accuracy of CDRscan (R2 > 0.84; AUROC > 0.98). We applied CDRscan to 1,487 approved drugs and identified 14 oncology and 23 non-oncology drugs having new potential cancer indications. This, to our knowledge, is the first-time application of a deep learning model in predicting the feasibility of drug repurposing. By further clinical validation, CDRscan is expected to allow selection of the most effective anticancer drugs for the genomic profile of the individual patient.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Databases, Pharmaceutical
  • Deep Learning*
  • Drug Repositioning
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Precision Medicine*


  • Antineoplastic Agents