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Biophys J. 2010 Jan 6;98(1):37-47. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2009.10.002.

An off-lattice hybrid discrete-continuum model of tumor growth and invasion.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


We have developed an off-lattice hybrid discrete-continuum (OLHDC) model of tumor growth and invasion. The continuum part of the OLHDC model describes microenvironmental components such as matrix-degrading enzymes, nutrients or oxygen, and extracellular matrix (ECM) concentrations, whereas the discrete portion represents individual cell behavior such as cell cycle, cell-cell, and cell-ECM interactions and cell motility by the often-used persistent random walk, which can be depicted by the Langevin equation. Using this framework of the OLHDC model, we develop a phenomenologically realistic and bio/physically relevant model that encompasses the experimentally observed superdiffusive behavior (at short times) of mammalian cells. When systemic simulations based on the OLHDC model are performed, tumor growth and its morphology are found to be strongly affected by cell-cell adhesion and haptotaxis. There is a combination of the strength of cell-cell adhesion and haptotaxis in which fingerlike shapes, characteristic of invasive tumor, are observed.

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