Exploring the mechanism of andrographolide in the treatment of gastric cancer through network pharmacology and molecular docking

Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 1;12(1):18413. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18319-0.


Gastric cancer has emerged as a key challenge in oncology research as a malignant tumour with advanced stage detection. Apart from surgical management, a pharmacotherapeutic approach to stomach cancer treatment is an appealing option to consider. Andrographolide has been shown to have anticancer and chemosensitizer properties in a variety of solid tumors, including stomach cancer but the exact molecular mechanism is skeptical. In this study, we identified and validated pharmacological mechanism involved in the treatment of GC with integrated approach of network pharmacology and molecular docking. The targets of andrographolide and GC were obtained from databases. The intersected targets between andrographolide and GC-related genes were used to construct protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. Furthermore, mechanism of action of the targets was predicted by Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analyses. Finally, these results were validated by molecular docking experiments, mRNA and protein expression level. A total of 197 targets were obtained for andrographolide treating GC. Functional enrichment analysis revealed that the target genes were exerted promising therapeutic effects on GC by HIF-1 and PI3K-Akt signaling pathway. The possible mechanism of action is by inactivation of HIF-1 signaling pathway which is dependent on the inhibition of upstream PI3K-AKT pathway. The PPI network identified SRC, AKT1, TP53, STAT3, PIK3CA, MAPK1, MAPK3, VEGFA, JUN and HSP90AA1 as potential hub targets. In addition, these results were further validated with molecular docking experiments. Survival analysis indicated that the expression levels of the hub genes were significantly associated with the clinical prognosis of GC. This study provided a novel approach to reveal the therapeutic mechanisms of andrographolide on GC, making future clinical application of andrographolide in the treatment of GC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal* / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Network Pharmacology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / pathology


  • andrographolide
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal