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PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Sep 22;12(9):e1005093. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005093. eCollection 2016 Sep.

In Silico Oncology: Quantification of the In Vivo Antitumor Efficacy of Cisplatin-Based Doublet Therapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) through a Multiscale Mechanistic Model.

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In Silico Oncology and In Silico Medicine Group, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Institute of Pathology, University of Saarland, Homburg (Saar), Germany.
Philips Research, Hamburg, Germany.
Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Saarland, Homburg (Saar), Germany.
Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, University of Saarland, Homburg (Saar), Germany.


The 5-year survival of non-small cell lung cancer patients can be as low as 1% in advanced stages. For patients with resectable disease, the successful choice of preoperative chemotherapy is critical to eliminate micrometastasis and improve operability. In silico experimentations can suggest the optimal treatment protocol for each patient based on their own multiscale data. A determinant for reliable predictions is the a priori estimation of the drugs' cytotoxic efficacy on cancer cells for a given treatment. In the present work a mechanistic model of cancer response to treatment is applied for the estimation of a plausible value range of the cell killing efficacy of various cisplatin-based doublet regimens. Among others, the model incorporates the cancer related mechanism of uncontrolled proliferation, population heterogeneity, hypoxia and treatment resistance. The methodology is based on the provision of tumor volumetric data at two time points, before and after or during treatment. It takes into account the effect of tumor microenvironment and cell repopulation on treatment outcome. A thorough sensitivity analysis based on one-factor-at-a-time and latin hypercube sampling/partial rank correlation coefficient approaches has established the volume growth rate and the growth fraction at diagnosis as key features for more accurate estimates. The methodology is applied on the retrospective data of thirteen patients with non-small cell lung cancer who received cisplatin in combination with gemcitabine, vinorelbine or docetaxel in the neoadjuvant context. The selection of model input values has been guided by a comprehensive literature survey on cancer-specific proliferation kinetics. The latin hypercube sampling has been recruited to compensate for patient-specific uncertainties. Concluding, the present work provides a quantitative framework for the estimation of the in-vivo cell-killing ability of various chemotherapies. Correlation studies of such estimates with the molecular profile of patients could serve as a basis for reliable personalized predictions.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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