Research ArticleCANCER

Role of mechanical cues and hypoxia on the growth of tumor cells in strong and weak confinement: A dual in vitro–in silico approach

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Science Advances  25 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 13, eaaz7130
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz7130


Characterization of tumor growth dynamics is of major importance for cancer understanding. By contrast with phenomenological approaches, mechanistic modeling can facilitate disclosing underlying tumor mechanisms and lead to identification of physical factors affecting proliferation and invasive behavior. Current mathematical models are often formulated at the tissue or organ scale with the scope of a direct clinical usefulness. Consequently, these approaches remain empirical and do not allow gaining insight into the tumor properties at the scale of small cell aggregates. Here, experimental and numerical studies of the dynamics of tumor aggregates are performed to propose a physics-based mathematical model as a general framework to investigate tumor microenvironment. The quantitative data extracted from the cellular capsule technology microfluidic experiments allow a thorough quantitative comparison with in silico experiments. This dual approach demonstrates the relative impact of oxygen and external mechanical forces during the time course of tumor model progression.

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