An imaging-based tumour growth and treatment response model: investigating the effect of tumour oxygenation on radiation therapy response

Phys Med Biol. 2008 Sep 7;53(17):4471-88. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/17/001. Epub 2008 Aug 1.


A multiscale tumour simulation model employing cell-line-specific biological parameters and functional information derived from pre-therapy PET/CT imaging data was developed to investigate effects of different oxygenation levels on the response to radiation therapy. For each tumour voxel, stochastic simulations were performed to model cellular growth and therapeutic response. Model parameters were fitted to published preclinical experiments of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Using the obtained parameters, the model was applied to a human HNSCC case to investigate effects of different uniform and non-uniform oxygenation levels and results were compared for treatment efficacy. Simulations of the preclinical studies showed excellent agreement with published data and underlined the model's ability to quantitatively reproduce tumour behaviour within experimental uncertainties. When using a simplified transformation to derive non-uniform oxygenation levels from molecular imaging data, simulations of the clinical case showed heterogeneous tumour response and variability in radioresistance with decreasing oxygen levels. Once clinically validated, this model could be used to transform patient-specific data into voxel-based biological objectives for treatment planning and to investigate biologically optimized dose prescriptions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Radiotherapy / methods*
  • Software
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods


  • Oxygen