New model could improve personalized treatment for people with one subtype of lung cancer.
Researchers have developed a new model that estimates the fraction of cancer cells in a tumor that could be killed by different chemotherapy treatments, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.
The effectiveness of a cancer treatment is usually judged based on how much it shrinks tumors by killing cancer cells. Moreover, experiments with lab-grown cancer cells cannot precisely predict a drug's cell-killing ability since they do not accurately mimic the complex tumor environment within a human body.
To improve predictions of the cancer cell-killing ability of chemotherapy, Eleni Kolokotroni of the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and colleagues built a model that simulates the growth of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors. They focused on tumors that can be removed by surgery; doctors often use combinations of chemotherapy drugs to shrink these tumors before removing them.
The new model incorporates a variety of existing knowledge on how NSCLC tumor cells proliferate in the body and how different drugs affect their growth. Given information about a patient's specific tumor, such as histological type, cancer stage and proliferation index, the model can estimate the cell-killing ability of different combinations of chemotherapy drugs.
The researchers applied the model to data from 12 NSCLC patients who received chemotherapy before tumor-removal surgery. For most patients, the model successfully predicted the observed amount of tumor shrinkage after chemotherapy treatment.
With further research, the new model could help reveal links between cell kill rates and specific tumor characteristics, such as genetic mutations, according to study co-author and team leader Georgios Stamatakos. This could ultimately help doctors select the best treatment options for other patients with similar tumor features.
Article: In Silico Oncology: Quantification of the In Vivo Antitumor Efficacy of Cisplatin-Based Doublet Therapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) through a Multiscale Mechanistic Model, Kolokotroni E, Dionysiou D, Veith C, Kim YJ, Sabczynski J, Franz A, Grgic A, Palm J, Bohle R and Stamatakos G, PLOS Computational Biology, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005093, published 22 September 2016.