A hybrid method for prediction and repositioning of drug Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classes†
In the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system, therapeutic drugs are divided into 14 main classes according to the organ or system on which they act and their chemical, pharmacological and therapeutic properties. This system, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), provides a global standard for classifying medical substances and serves as a tool for international drug utilization research to improve quality of drug use. In view of this, it is necessary to develop effective computational prediction methods to identify the ATC-class of a given drug, which thereby could facilitate further analysis of this system. In this study, we initiated an attempt to develop a prediction method and to gain insights from it by utilizing ontology information of drug compounds. Since only about one-fourth of drugs in the ATC classification system have ontology information, a hybrid prediction method combining the ontology information, chemical interaction information and chemical structure information of drug compounds was proposed for the prediction of drug ATC-classes. As a result, by using the Jackknife test, the 1st prediction accuracies for identifying the 14 main ATC-classes in the training dataset, the internal validation dataset and the external validation dataset were 75.90%, 75.70% and 66.36%, respectively. Analysis of some samples with false-positive predictions in the internal and external validation datasets indicated that some of them may even have a relationship with the false-positive predicted ATC-class, suggesting novel uses of these drugs. It was conceivable that the proposed method could be used as an efficient tool to identify ATC-classes of novel drugs or to discover novel uses of known drugs.