Actinidia chinensis Planch. (ACP) is a common traditional Chinese medicine, which is mostly used for cancer treatment clinically. Liver cancer is a refractory tumor with a high incidence. Although ACP has been reported in the treatment of liver cancer, its possible mechanism of action is little known.
The aim of this paper was to investigate the active components of ACP in the treatment of liver cancer and the related mechanisms by a network pharmacology approach.
The active components of ACP and the corresponding targets were obtained from multiple databases. Cytoscape software and STRING database were used to build the “herb-component-target (H-C-T)” network and protein-protein interactions (PPI) network. The key components and targets were further predicted by the Cytohubba plug-in in Cytoscape. Then, experiments were carried out on HepG2 cell line and Huh7 cell line to verify the effects and related mechanisms of the key compounds in ACP.
28 active components in ACP and 1299 related targets were screened out according to two indicators, oral bioavailability (OB) and drug-likeness (DL). The key compounds predicted include rutinum, astragalin, and L-epicatechin, and the main signaling pathways focus on apoptosis. Astragalin, a key compound in ACP, could inhibit the expression of Bcl-2, up-regulate the expression of Bax, cleaved caspase 3, cleaved caspase 8, and cleaved caspase 9, and regulate the apoptosis signaling pathway to inhibit the proliferation of liver cancer cells to play a therapeutic role in anti-liver cancer.
These results suggest that ACP can alleviate the progression of liver cancer through the mechanisms predicted by network pharmacology, and provide a basis for the further understanding of the application of ACP in anti-cancer.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.