In Silico Mathematical Modelling for Glioblastoma: A Critical Review and a Patient-Specific Case

J Clin Med. 2021 May 17;10(10):2169. doi: 10.3390/jcm10102169.


Glioblastoma extensively infiltrates the brain; despite surgery and aggressive therapies, the prognosis is poor. A multidisciplinary approach combining mathematical, clinical and radiological data has the potential to foster our understanding of glioblastoma evolution in every single patient, with the aim of tailoring therapeutic weapons. In particular, the ultimate goal of biomathematics for cancer is the identification of the most suitable theoretical models and simulation tools, both to describe the biological complexity of carcinogenesis and to predict tumor evolution. In this report, we describe the results of a critical review about different mathematical models in neuro-oncology with their clinical implications. A comprehensive literature search and review for English-language articles concerning mathematical modelling in glioblastoma has been conducted. The review explored the different proposed models, classifying them and indicating the significative advances of each one. Furthermore, we present a specific case of a glioblastoma patient in which our recently proposed innovative mechanical model has been applied. The results of the mathematical models have the potential to provide a relevant benefit for clinicians and, more importantly, they might drive progress towards improving tumor control and patient's prognosis. Further prospective comparative trials, however, are still necessary to prove the impact of mathematical neuro-oncology in clinical practice.

Keywords: biomathematics; cancer modelling; diffusion tensor imaging; glioblastoma; in silico; personalized neuro-oncology.

Publication types

  • Review