Toward Personalized Computer Simulation of Breast Cancer Treatment: A Multiscale Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Model Informed by Multitype Patient Data

Cancer Res. 2019 Aug 15;79(16):4293-4304. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-1804. Epub 2019 May 22.


The usefulness of mechanistic models to disentangle complex multiscale cancer processes, such as treatment response, has been widely acknowledged. However, a major barrier for multiscale models to predict treatment outcomes in individual patients lies in their initialization and parametrization, which needs to reflect individual cancer characteristics accurately. In this study, we use multitype measurements acquired routinely on a single breast tumor, including histopathology, MRI, and molecular profiling, to personalize parts of a complex multiscale model of breast cancer treated with chemotherapeutic and antiangiogenic agents. The model accounts for drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. We developed an open-source computer program that simulates cross-sections of tumors under 12-week therapy regimens and used it to individually reproduce and elucidate treatment outcomes of 4 patients. Two of the tumors did not respond to therapy, and model simulations were used to suggest alternative regimens with improved outcomes dependent on the tumor's individual characteristics. It was determined that more frequent and lower doses of chemotherapy reduce tumor burden in a low proliferative tumor while lower doses of antiangiogenic agents improve drug penetration in a poorly perfused tumor. Furthermore, using this model, we were able to correctly predict the outcome in another patient after 12 weeks of treatment. In summary, our model bridges multitype clinical data to shed light on individual treatment outcomes. SIGNIFICANCE: Mathematical modeling is used to validate possible mechanisms of tumor growth, resistance, and treatment outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bevacizumab / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bevacizumab