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Modelling the transport of fluid through heterogeneous, whole tumours in silico.

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d'Esposito, Angela 
Walker-Samuel, Simon 


Cancers exhibit spatially heterogeneous, unique vascular architectures across individual samples, cell-lines and patients. This inherently disorganised collection of leaky blood vessels contribute significantly to suboptimal treatment efficacy. Preclinical tools are urgently required which incorporate the inherent variability and heterogeneity of tumours to optimise and engineer anti-cancer therapies. In this study, we present a novel computational framework which incorporates whole, realistic tumours extracted ex vivo to efficiently simulate vascular blood flow and interstitial fluid transport in silico for validation against in vivo biomedical imaging. Our model couples Poiseuille and Darcy descriptions of vascular and interstitial flow, respectively, and incorporates spatially heterogeneous blood vessel lumen and interstitial permeabilities to generate accurate predictions of tumour fluid dynamics. Our platform enables highly-controlled experiments to be performed which provide insight into how tumour vascular heterogeneity contributes to tumour fluid transport. We detail the application of our framework to an orthotopic murine glioma (GL261) and a human colorectal carcinoma (LS147T), and perform sensitivity analysis to gain an understanding of the key biological mechanisms which determine tumour fluid transport. Finally we mimic vascular normalization by modifying parameters, such as vascular and interstitial permeabilities, and show that incorporating realistic vasculatures is key to modelling the contrasting fluid dynamic response between tumour samples. Contrary to literature, we show that reducing tumour interstitial fluid pressure is not essential to increase interstitial perfusion and that therapies should seek to develop an interstitial fluid pressure gradient. We also hypothesise that stabilising vessel diameters and permeabilities are not key responses following vascular normalization and that therapy may alter interstitial hydraulic conductivity. Consequently, we suggest that normalizing the interstitial microenvironment may provide a more effective means to increase interstitial perfusion within tumours.



Animals, Biological Transport, Cell Line, Tumor, Computational Biology, Computer Simulation, Extracellular Fluid, Humans, Mice, Models, Biological, Neoplasms, Tumor Microenvironment

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PLoS Comput Biol

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
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