6th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
Leipzig, Germany
September 7-9, 2015
Invited Talk
Physics of Vascular Remodeling During Tumor Growth: Implications for Interstitial Fluid Flow and Drug Delivery
Heiko Rieger, Michael Welter, Thierry Fredrich
Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany
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Malignant solid tumors recruit the blood vessel network of the host tissue for nutrient supply, continuous growth, and gain of metastatic potential. Angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels), vessel cooption (the integration of existing blood vessels into the tumor vasculature), and vessel regression remodel the healthy vascular network into a tumor-specific vasculature that is in many respects different from the hierarchically organized arterio-venous blood vessel network of the host tissues. Interstitial fluid is a solution that bathes and surrounds the human cells and provides them with nutrients and a way of waste removal. It is generally believed that elevated tumor interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) is partly responsible for the poor penetration and distribution of therapeutic agents in solid tumors, but the complex interplay of extravasation, permeabilities, vascular heterogeneities and diffusive and convective drug transport remains poorly understood. Here we consider–with the help of a theoretical model–the tumor IFP, interstitial fluid flow (IFF) and its impact upon drug delivery within tumor depending on biophysical determinants such as vessel network morphology, permeabilities and diffusive vs. convective transport. We developed a vascular tumor growth model, including vessel co-option, regression, and angiogenesis, that we extend here by the interstitium (represented by a porous medium obeying Darcy’s law) and sources (vessels) and sinks (lymphatics) for IFF. With it we compute the spatial variation of the IFP and IFF and determine its correlation with the vascular network morphology and physiological parameters like vessel wall permeability, tissue conductivity, distribution of lymphatics etc. We find that an increased vascular wall conductivity together with a reduction of lymph function leads to increased tumor IFP, but also that the latter does not necessarily imply a decreased extravasation rate: Generally the IF flow rate is positively correlated with the various conductivities in the system. The IFF field is then used to determine the drug distribution after an injection via a convection diffusion reaction equation for intra- and extracellular concentrations with parameters guided by experimental data for the drug Doxorubicin. We observe that the interplay of convective and diffusive drug transport can lead to quite unexpected effects in the presence of a heterogeneous, compartmentalized vasculature. Finally we discuss various strategies to increase drug exposure time of tumor cells.
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