Multimodality imaging and mathematical modelling of drug delivery to glioblastomas

Interface Focus. 2016 Oct 6;6(5):20160039. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2016.0039.


Patients diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour, have a poor prognosis, with a median overall survival of less than 15 months. Vasculature within these tumours is typically abnormal, with increased tortuosity, dilation and disorganization, and they typically exhibit a disrupted blood-brain barrier (BBB). Although it has been hypothesized that the 'normalization' of the vasculature resulting from anti-angiogenic therapies could improve drug delivery through improved blood flow, there is also evidence that suggests that the restoration of BBB integrity might limit the delivery of therapeutic agents and hence their effectiveness. In this paper, we apply mathematical models of blood flow, vascular permeability and diffusion within the tumour microenvironment to investigate the effect of these competing factors on drug delivery. Preliminary results from the modelling indicate that all three physiological parameters investigated-flow rate, vessel permeability and tissue diffusion coefficient-interact nonlinearly to produce the observed average drug concentration in the microenvironment.

Keywords: computational modelling and simulation; drug delivery; glioblastoma; multimodality imaging; perfusion.