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Nat Rev Cancer. 2015 Dec;15(12):730-45. doi: 10.1038/nrc4029.

The mathematics of cancer: integrating quantitative models.

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Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University, 1 Brattle Square, Suite 6, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


Mathematical modelling approaches have become increasingly abundant in cancer research. The complexity of cancer is well suited to quantitative approaches as it provides challenges and opportunities for new developments. In turn, mathematical modelling contributes to cancer research by helping to elucidate mechanisms and by providing quantitative predictions that can be validated. The recent expansion of quantitative models addresses many questions regarding tumour initiation, progression and metastases as well as intra-tumour heterogeneity, treatment responses and resistance. Mathematical models can complement experimental and clinical studies, but also challenge current paradigms, redefine our understanding of mechanisms driving tumorigenesis and shape future research in cancer biology.

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