In-silico study of asymmetric remodeling of tumors in response to external biochemical stimuli

Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 18;13(1):941. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-26891-8.


Among different hallmarks of cancer, understanding biomechanics of tumor growth and remodeling benefits the most from the theoretical framework of continuum mechanics. Tumor remodeling initiates when cancer cells seek new homeostasis in response to the microenvironmental stimuli. Cells within a growing tumor are capable to remodel their inter- and intra-connections and become more mobile to achieve a new homeostasis. This mobility enables the tumor to undergo large deformation. In this work, we studied the remodeling of homogeneous tumors, at their early stage of growth, in the context of continuum mechanics. We developed an evolution law for the remodeling-associated deformation which correlates the remodeling to a characteristic tensor of external stimuli. The asymmetric remodeling and the induced mechanical stresses were analyzed for different types of biochemical distributions. To experimentally investigate the model, we studied the remodeling of human glioblastoma (hGB) tumoroids in response to the gradient of nutrients. Using a tumoroid-on-a-chip platform, the degree of remodeling was estimated for the ellipsoidal tumoroids over time. It was observed that higher gradient of nutrients induces higher degree of ellipticity suggesting that the gradient of nutrient is a characteristic property of nutrient distribution that derives the remodeling. We also showed that remodeling gives rise to heterogeneity in cell distribution forming circumferentially aligned cells within the tumors. Compared to the existing studies on tumor growth, our work provides a biomechanical module that relates the remodeling to biochemical stimuli, and allows for large deformation. It also includes experimental component, a necessary but challenging step, that connects the theory and reality to evaluate the practicability of the model.

PMID:36653410 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-26891-8


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