Frequent hitters: nuisance artifacts in high-throughput screening

Zi Yi Yang, Jun Hong He, Ai Ping Lu, Ting Jun Hou*, Dong Sheng Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


One of the major challenges in early drug discovery is the recognition of frequent hitters (FHs), that is, compounds that nonspecifically bind to a range of macromolecular targets or false positives caused by various types of assay interferences. In this review, we survey the mechanisms underlying different types of FHs, including aggregators, spectroscopic interference compounds (i.e., luciferase inhibitors and fluorescent compounds), chemical reactive compounds, and promiscuous compounds. We also review commonly used experimental detection techniques and computational prediction models for FH identification. In addition, the rational applications of these computational filters are discussed. It is believed that, with the rational use of FH filters, the efficiency of drug discovery will be significantly improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-667
Number of pages11
JournalDrug Discovery Today
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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