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Cordyceps sinensis for the Treatment of Liver Cancer: A Network Pharmacology and Molecular Docking Study

Author(s): Yaping Mu, D. Zheng, Q. H. Peng, E. C. Wang, Fei Ye and Jing Wang*
Hepatobilary Department, The Affiliated Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan 646000, 1Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Chaoyang, Beijing 100029, China

Correspondence Address:
Jing Wang, Hepatobilary Department, The Affiliated Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan 646000, China, E-mail:

Cordyceps sinensis is a widely utilized medicinal substance in clinical practice, notably recognized for its applications in various cancer treatments. Although several studies have demonstrated its therapeutic effects on liver cancer, a comprehensive analysis of the underlying molecular mechanisms is still lacking. In this study, we systematically gathered 197 components and identified 343 action targets of Cordyceps from traditional Chinese medicine systems pharmacology and high-throughput experiment- and reference-guided databases, as well as 1482 therapeutic targets associated with hepatocellular carcinoma from various sources, including Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man, DrugBank and other databases. Utilizing this extensive dataset, we conducted a comprehensive analysis that revealed tumor necrosis factor, cysteine-aspartic acid protease 3, B-cell lymphoma 2, interleukin 6, vascular endothelial growth factor A and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor as the central targets responsible for the efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis in liver cancer therapy. Further enrichment analysis unveiled potential mechanisms of Cordyceps action in liver cancer treatment, highlighting the tumor necrosis factor-nuclear factor kappa B signalling pathway and wingless-related integration site/catenin beta 1 signalling pathway as areas warranting further exploration. Finally, we utilized molecular docking to visualize the binding models of the relevant components and core targets. In summary, our study systematically and effectively analysed the potential active ingredients, action targets and relevant pathways associated with Cordyceps sinensis in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma. These findings shed light on the underlying mechanisms of action of Cordyceps sinensis, thus establishing a robust theoretical foundation for future experimental investigations.

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