MODELLING THE RESPONSE OF VASCULAR TUMOURS TO CHEMOTHERAPY: A MULTISCALE APPROACH
BYRNE HM., OWEN MR., ALARCON T., MURPHY J., MAINI PK.
An existing multiscale model is extended to study the response of a vascularised tumour to treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs which target proliferating cells. The underlying hybrid cellular automaton model couples tissue-level processes (e.g. blood flow, vascular adaptation, oxygen and drug transport) with cellular and subcellular phenomena (e.g. competition for space, progress through the cell cycle, natural cell death and drug-induced cell kill and the expression of angiogenic factors). New simulations suggest that, in the absence of therapy, vascular adaptation induced by angiogenic factors can stimulate spatio-temporal oscillations in the tumour's composition. Numerical simulations are presented and show that, depending on the choice of model parameters, when a drug which kills proliferating cells is continuously infused through the vasculature, three cases may arise: the tumour is eliminated by the drug; the tumour continues to expand into the normal tissue; or, the tumour undergoes spatio-temporal oscillations, with regions of high vascular and tumour cell density alternating with regions of low vascular and tumour cell density. The implications of these results and possible directions for future research are also discussed.