Modeling heterogeneous tumor growth dynamics and cell-cell interactions at single-cell and cell-population resolution

Curr Opin Syst Biol. 2019 Oct;17:24-34. doi: 10.1016/j.coisb.2019.09.005. Epub 2019 Sep 16.


Cancer is a complex, dynamic disease that despite recent advances remains mostly incurable. Inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity are generally considered major drivers of therapy resistance, metastasis, and treatment failure. Recent advances in high-throughput experimentation have produced a wealth of data on tumor heterogeneity and researchers are increasingly turning to mathematical modeling to aid in the interpretation of these complex datasets. In this mini-review, we discuss three important classes of approaches for modeling cellular dynamics within heterogeneous tumors: agent-based models, population dynamics, and multiscale models. An important new focus, for which we provide an example, is the role of intratumoral cell-cell interactions.