Mathematical modeling of cancer invasion: The role of membrane-bound matrix metalloproteinases

Niall E. Deakin, Mark A. J. Chaplain

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    44 Citations (Scopus)


    One of the hallmarks of cancer growth and metastatic spread is the process of local invasion of the surrounding tissue. Cancer cells achieve protease-dependent invasion by the secretion of enzymes involved in proteolysis. These overly expressed proteolytic enzymes then proceed to degrade the host tissue allowing the cancer cells to disseminate throughout the microenvironment by active migration and interaction with components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) such as collagen. In this paper we develop a mathematical model of cancer invasion which consider the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Specifically our model will focus on two distinct types of MMP, i.e., soluble, diffusible MMPs (e.g., MMP-2) and membrane-bound MMPs (e.g., MT1-MMP), and the roles each of these plays in cancer invasion. The implications of MMP-2 activation by MMP-14 and the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 are considered alongside the effect the architecture of the matrix may have when applied to a model of cancer invasion. Elements of the ECM architecture investigated include pore size of the matrix, since in some highly dense collagen structures such as breast tissue, the cancer cells are unable to physically fit through a porous region, and the crosslinking of collagen fibers. In this scenario, cancer cells rely on membrane-bound MMPs to forge a path through which degradation by other MMPs and movement of cancer cells becomes possible. © 2013 Deakin and Chaplain.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number70
    JournalFrontiers in Oncology
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2013


    • Cancer invasion
    • Metalloproteinases
    • Membrane-bound MMPs
    • Mathematical model
    • Extracellular matrix


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