Development of QSAR machine learning-based models to forecast the effect of substances on malignant melanoma cells
SK-MEL-5 is a human melanoma cell line that has been used in various studies to explore new therapies against melanoma in different in vitro experiments. Based on this study we report on the development of quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models able to predict the cytotoxic effect of diverse chemical compounds on this cancer cell line. The dataset of cytotoxic and inactive compounds were downloaded from the PubChem database. It contains the data for all chemical compounds for which cytotoxicity results expressed by GI50 was recorded. In total 13 blocks of molecular descriptors were computed and used, after appropriate pre-processing in building QSAR models with four machine learning classifiers: Random forest (RF), gradient boosting, support vector machine and random k-nearest neighbors. Among the 186 models reported none had a positive predictive value (PPV) higher than 0.90 in both nested cross-validation and on an external dataset testing, but 7 models had a PPV higher than 0.85 in both evaluations, all seven using the RFs algorithm as a classifier, and topological descriptors, information indices, 2D-autocorrelation descriptors, P-VSA-like descriptors, and edge-adjacency descriptors as sets of features used for classification. The y‐scrambling test was associated with considerably worse performance (confirming the non-random character of the models) and the applicability domain was assessed through three different methods.