Collective cell migration in a fibrous environment: a hybrid multi-scale modelling approach

Szabolcs Suveges, Ibrahim Chamseddine, Katarzyna A. Rejniak, Raluca Eftimie, Dumitru Trucu (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


The specific structure of the extracellular matrix (ECM), and in particular the density and orientation of collagen fibres, plays an important role in the evolution of solid cancers. While many experimental studies discussed the role of ECM in individual and collective cell migration, there are still unanswered questions about the impact of nonlocal cell sensing of other cells on the overall shape of tumour aggregation and its migration type. There are also unanswered questions about the migration and spread of tumour that arises at the boundary between different tissues with different collagen fibre orientations. To address these questions, in this study we develop a hybrid multi-scale model that considers the cells as individual entities and ECM as a continuous field. The numerical simulations obtained through this model match experimental observations, confirming that tumour aggregations are not moving if the ECM fibres are distributed randomly, and they only move when the ECM fibres are highly aligned. Moreover, the stationary tumour aggregations can have circular shapes or irregular shapes (with finger-like protrusions), while the moving tumour aggregations have elongate shapes (resembling to clusters, strands or files). We also show that the cell sensing radius impacts tumour shape only when there is a low ratio of fibre to non-fibre ECM components. Finally, we investigate the impact of different ECM fibre orientations corresponding to different tissues, on the overall tumour invasion of these neighbouring tissues.
Original languageEnglish
Article number680029
Number of pages19
JournalFrontiers in Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021


  • Cell migration
  • Multi-scale hybrid mathematical model
  • Agent based discrete cell-cell interactions
  • Continuous cell-ECM interactions
  • Orientation of ECM fibres
  • Numerical simulations
  • numerical simulations
  • multi-scale hybrid mathematical model
  • orientation of extracellular matrix fibres
  • continuous cell-extracellular matrix interactions
  • cell migration
  • agent based discrete cell-cell interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistics and Probability


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