Virtual and real brain tumors: using mathematical modeling to quantify glioma growth and invasion

J Neurol Sci. 2003 Dec 15;216(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2003.06.001.


Over the last 10 years increasingly complex mathematical models of cancerous growths have been developed, especially on solid tumors, in which growth primarily comes from cellular proliferation. The invasiveness of gliomas, however, requires a change in the concept to include cellular motility in addition to proliferative growth. In this article we review some of the recent developments in mathematical modeling of gliomas. We begin with a model of untreated gliomas and continue with models of polyclonal gliomas following chemotherapy or surgical resection. From relatively simple assumptions involving homogeneous brain tissue bounded by a few gross anatomical landmarks (ventricles and skull) the models have recently been expanded to include heterogeneous brain tissue with different motilities of glioma cells in grey and white matter on a geometrically complex brain domain, including sulcal boundaries, with a resolution of 1 mm(3) voxels. We conclude that the velocity of expansion is linear with time and varies about 10-fold, from about 4 mm/year for low-grade gliomas to about 3 mm/month for high-grade ones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / physiopathology*
  • Glioma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / physiopathology*
  • User-Computer Interface*