Multiscale dynamics of a heterotypic cancer cell population within a fibrous extracellular matrix

Robyn Shuttleworth, Dumitru Trucu (Lead / Corresponding author)

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Local cancer cell invasion is a complex process involving many cellular and tissue interactions and is an important prerequisite for metastatic spread, the main cause of cancer related deaths. As a tumour increases in malignancy, the cancer cells adopt the ability to mutate into secondary cell subpopulations giving rise to a heterogeneous tumour. This new cell subpopulation often carries higher invasive abilities and permits a quicker spread of the tumour. Building upon the recent multiscale modelling framework for cancer invasion within a fibrous ECM introduced in Shuttleworth and Trucu (2019), in this paper we consider the process of local invasion by a heterotypic tumour consisting of two cancer cell populations mixed with a two-phase ECM. To that end, we address the double feedback link between the tissue-scale cancer dynamics and the cell-scale molecular processes through the development of a two-part modelling framework that crucially incorporates the multiscale dynamic redistribution of oriented fibres occurring within a two-phase extra-cellular matrix and combines this with the multiscale leading edge dynamics exploring key matrix-degrading enzymes molecular processes along the tumour interface that drive the movement of the cancer boundary. The modelling framework will be accompanied by computational results that explore the effects of the underlying fibre network on the overall pattern of cancer invasion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110040
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date8 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020


  • Cancer invasion
  • Computational modelling
  • Extracellular matrix fibres
  • Multiscale modelling
  • Mutations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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