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Drug combinations are a promising strategy for combating complex diseases by improving the efficacy and reducing corresponding side effects. Currently, a widely studied problem in pharmacology is to predict effective drug combinations, either through empirically screening in clinic or pure experimental trials. However, the large-scale prediction of drug combination by a systems method is rarely considered. We report a systems pharmacology framework to predict drug combinations (PreDCs) on a computational model, termed probability ensemble approach (PEA), for analysis of both the efficacy and adverse effects of drug combinations. First, a Bayesian network integrating with a similarity algorithm is developed to model the combinations from drug molecular and pharmacological phenotypes, and the predictions are then assessed with both clinical efficacy and adverse effects. It is illustrated that PEA can predict the combination efficacy of drugs spanning different therapeutic classes with high specificity and sensitivity (AUC = 0.90), which was further validated by independent data or new experimental assays. PEA also evaluates the adverse effects (AUC = 0.95) quantitatively and detects the therapeutic indications for drug combinations. Finally, the PreDC database includes 1571 known and 3269 predicted optimal combinations as well as their potential side effects and therapeutic indications. The PreDC database is available at © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail:


Peng Li, Chao Huang, Yingxue Fu, Jinan Wang, Ziyin Wu, Jinlong Ru, Chunli Zheng, Zihu Guo, Xuetong Chen, Wei Zhou, Wenjuan Zhang, Yan Li, Jianxin Chen, Aiping Lu, Yonghua Wang. Large-scale exploration and analysis of drug combinations. Bioinformatics (Oxford, England). 2015 Jun 15;31(12):2007-16

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PMID: 25667546

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