The Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Eprints Archive

Modeling the growth of multicellular cancer spheroids in a
bioengineered 3D microenvironment and their treatment with an
anti-cancer drug

Loessner, D. and Flegg, J. A. and Byrne, H. M. and Hall, C. L. and Moroney, T. J. and Clements, J. A. and Hutmacher, D. W. and McElwain, D. L. S. (2010) Modeling the growth of multicellular cancer spheroids in a
bioengineered 3D microenvironment and their treatment with an
anti-cancer drug.
PLoS Computational Biology . (Submitted)

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Abstract

A critical step in the dissemination of ovarian cancer cells is the formation of multicellular spheroids from cells shed from the primary tumor. The objectives of this study were to establish and validate bioengineered three-dimensional (3D) microenvironments for culturing ovarian cancer cells in vitro and simultaneously to develop computational models describing the growth of multicellular spheroids in these bioengineered matrices. Cancer cells derived from human epithelial ovarian carcinoma were embedded within biomimetic hydrogels of varying stiffness and cultured for up to 4 weeks. Immunohistochemistry was used to quantify the dependence of cell proliferation and apoptosis on matrix stiffness, long-term culture and treatment with the anti-cancer drug paclitaxel.

Two computational models were developed. In the first model, each spheroid was treated as an incompressible porous medium, whereas in the second model the concept of morphoelasticity was used to incorporate details about internal stresses and strains. Each model was formulated as a free boundary problem. Functional forms for cell proliferation and apoptosis motivated by the experimental work were applied and the predictions of both models compared with the output from the experiments. Both models simulated how the growth of cancer spheroids was influenced by mechanical and biochemical stimuli including matrix stiffness, culture time and treatment with paclitaxel. Our mathematical models provide new perspectives on previous experimental results and have informed the design of new 3D studies of multicellular cancer spheroids.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:D - G > General
Research Groups:Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics
ID Code:1031
Deposited By:Peter Hudston
Deposited On:07 Jan 2011 08:47
Last Modified:09 Feb 2012 15:50

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