What is canSAR?
canSAR is an integrated database that brings together
biological, chemical, pharmacological (and eventually clinical)
data. Its goal is to integrate this data and make it accessible
to cancer research scientists from multiple disciplines, to aid
hypothesis generation and decision making towards identifying
causes, biomarkers and therapeutics for cancer.
Do I need a license to use canSAR?
No. canSAR is freely available to all cancer researchers, both
academic and commercial. Please read the
Why is canSAR called 'canSAR'?
canSAR is a historical play on words to reflect the fact that it
integrates cancer-relevant data with compound
Structure-Activity-Relationship (SAR) data. Of course canSAR has
grown to be much more than that but the name stuck!
I seem to find that some functionality is missing when using IE
Internet Explorer (IE) is a non-standards compliant browser.
This means that standards laid down by the international
community describing various aspects of web protocols are not
fully implemented by the IE team and often cause IE to fail to
display pages or functionalities of the web site. Due to the
advanced nature of the web interface provided by canSAR, many of
the techniques implemented use technoligies that are not
properly supported by IE. We recommend using
to benefit from the full functionality of canSAR.
How can I inform you of any bugs or problems?
We really appreciate being told about bugs or any other issues
you experience while using canSAR. Please email us on
How can I cite canSAR?
To cite canSAR please cite:
Joseph E. Tym, Costas Mitsopoulos, Elizabeth A. Coker, Parisa
Razaz, Amanda C. Schierz, Albert A. Antolin, and Bissan
canSAR: an updated cancer research and drug discovery
Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Jan 4;44(D1):D938-43. doi:
10.1093/nar/gkv1030. Epub 2015 Dec 15.
Where does the data in canSAR come from?
canSAR data comes from a wide variety of public sources and
publications. The ICR internal version of canSAR also includes
internally generated experimental data. For latest data sources
and statistics, please refer to
How often is the data in canSAR updated?
We try to have a data and minor functionality update on a
monthly basis. However, most of the data in canSAR comes from
public sources which have different update cycles. The
allow you to see the status of each update.
How frequently is the 3D structural data updated in canSAR?
We update 3D structures every week, a couple of days after PDB
release new structures in order for us to provide additional
annotations and integrate this data with the respective chemical
and biological information in canSAR.
Do I need to know the official gene name to search for a target?
No, canSAR searches all alternative names, synonyms,
descriptions and keywords.
What organisms does canSAR store data on?
canSAR target dictionary focusses on human data, although we
have a large number of model organism targets. Target key word
searches only search human targets . Chemical screening data is
from a wide variety of organisms.
I still cannot find my target and I have searched for different
Is your target not a human target? Try expanding the search by
clicking on "Advanced Search", then choose "All organisms".
If you still cannot find your target (this rarely ever happens),
and you can obtain the amino acid sequence of your target from
another source, try performing a sequence search. If you still
cannot find your target, please let us know by emailing
and we will try our best to help.
I cannot find a compound by searching for its name, but I expect
it to be in canSAR
We annotate compound synonyms in canSAR wherever we can.
However, to make sure, please do a chemical structure search. If
you think data is missing then please contact us on
How do I find out what tissues or cell lines show high
expression of my target?
If it is a single target, it is best to view the Target Synopsis
and go to the Expression area. There you will find a list of
tissues and cell lines with expression levels. See "Target
Synopsis" in the Quick Start section for a quick guide on how to
do this. If you have multiple targets that you want to know the
expression for at once, please use the expression tool (In the
How do I find out if there is half life or other ADME data for
This information can be obtained from the "Compound Synopsis"
Page for a given compound.
Can I do a batch substructure search using an SDF of a list of
compounds as the query?
At the moment this functionality is not enabled because of the
stress it will put on the server, thus possibly hindering other
users. We are working to identify the best way to to do this.
What chemical cartridge is used to do the chemical searches?
We use Symyx Cartridge.
How do I find out if X-ray structures are available for my
You can do this by viewing the "Target Synopsis" and going to
the "Structural ligandability" section.
How do I download the drug combination data?
You can do this from this link: