Coupled mathematical model of tumorigenesis and angiogenesis in vascular tumours
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OBJECTIVES: Mathematical models are useful for studying vascular and avascular tumours, because these allow for more logical experimental design and provide valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms of their growth and development. The processes of avascular tumour growth and the development of capillary networks through tumour-induced angiogenesis have already been extensively investigated, albeit separately. Despite the clinical significance of vascular tumours, few studies have combined these approaches to develop a single comprehensive growth and development model. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We develop a continuum-based mathematical model of vascular tumour growth. In the model, angiogenesis is initiated through the release of angiogenic growth factors (AGFs) by cells in the hypoxic regions of the tumour. The nutrient concentration within the tumour reflects the influence of capillary growth and invasion induced by AGF. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Parametric and sensitivity studies were performed to evaluate the influence of different model parameters on tumour growth and to identify the parameters with the most influence, which include the rates of proliferation, apoptosis and necrosis, as well as the diffusion of sprout tips and the size of the region affected by angiogenesis. An optimization was performed for values of the model parameters that resulted in the best agreement with published experimental data. The resulting model solution matched the experimental data with a high degree of correlation (r = 0.85).
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