Chemoinformatics-based classification of prohibited substances employed for doping in sport

Edward O. Cannon, Andreas Bender, David S. Palmer, John Blayney Owen Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Representative molecules from 10 classes of prohibited substances were taken from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list, augmented by molecules from corresponding activity classes found in the MDDR database. Together with some explicitly allowed compounds, these formed a set of 5245 molecules. Five types of fingerprints were calculated for these substances. The random forest classification method was used to predict membership of each prohibited class on the basis of each type of fingerprint, using 5-fold cross-validation. We also used a k-nearest neighbors (kNN) approach, which worked well for the smallest values of k. The most successful classifiers are based on Unity 2D fingerprints and give very similar Matthews correlation coefficients of 0.836 (kNN) and 0.829 (random forest). The kNN classifiers tend to give a higher recall of positives at the expense of lower precision. A naive Bayesian classifier, however, lies much further toward the extreme of high recall and low precision. Our results suggest that it will be possible to produce a reliable and quantitative assignment of membership or otherwise of each class of prohibited substances. This should aid the fight against the use of bioactive novel compounds as doping agents, while also protecting athletes against unjust disqualification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2369-2380
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2006


  • 2D


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemoinformatics-based classification of prohibited substances employed for doping in sport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this