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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine


Department of Mathematics


Researchers have observed that response of tumor cells to treatment varies depending on whether the cells are grown in monolayer, as in vitro spheroids or in vivo. This study uses data from the literature on monolayer treatment of SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells with 15-deoxy-PGJ 2 and couples it with data on growth rates for untreated SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells grown as multicellular spheroids. A linear model is constructed for untreated and treated monolayer data sets, which is tuned to growth, death, and cell cycle data for the monolayer case for both control and treatment with 15-deoxy-PGJ 2. The monolayer model is extended to a five-dimensional nonlinear model of in vitro tumor spheroid growth and treatment that includes compartments of the cell cycle (G 1, S, G 2/M) as well as quiescent (Q) and necrotic (N) cells. Monolayer treatment data for 15-deoxy-PGJ 2 is used to derive a prediction of spheroid response under similar treatments. For short periods of treatment, spheroid response is less pronounced than monolayer response. The simulations suggest that the difference in response to treatment of monolayer versus spheroid cultures observed in laboratory studies is a natural consequence of tumor spheroid physiology rather than any special resistance to treatment.