Effect of transvascular fluid exchange on pressure-flow relationship in tumors: a proposed mechanism for tumor blood flow heterogeneity

Microvasc Res. 1996 Jul;52(1):27-46. doi: 10.1006/mvre.1996.0041.


Tumor blood flow (TBF) is characterized by spatial and temporal heterogeneities. Despite the crucial role of TBF in tumor growth, metastasis, and therapy, the mechanisms underlying these heterogeneities are not fully understood. Tumor vessels are, in general, more leaky than normal vessels and this may enhance the efficiency of fluid exchange between the vascular and the interstitial space. The coupling between transvascular fluid exchange and hemodynamics in tumors has not been explored previously. To investigate the role of transvascular fluid exchange on afferent and efferent blood flow, we modeled the tumor vasculature as an equivalent single vessel which is permeable and deformable and embedded in a fluid medium with uniform pressure. Simulations were carried out to examine the effects of vessel leakiness, vessel compliance, and interstitial fluid pressure on (a) pressure-flow relationship, (b) arterial-venous pressure relationship, and (c) pressure profile along the vessel. Experiments suggested by model simulations required an independent control of arterial and venous pressure and tumor blood flow. To this end, we perfused tissue-isolated tumors ex vivo and obtained data on perfusate flow rate vs arterial and venous pressures. The simulations predicted the following trends as a result of an enhanced fluid filtration across the vessel wall: (a) for a fixed arterial-venous pressure difference, efferent flow decreases with increasing venous pressure, (b) changes in venous pressure are not completely transmitted to the arterial side, and (c) the pressure profile along the vessel becomes less steep. The experimental results confirmed these trends and indicated that vascular and interstitial flow are coupled in isolated tumors. The implications of this coupling for the spatial and temporal heterogeneity in TBF are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood supply*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Compliance
  • Computer Simulation
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Mathematics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Perfusion
  • Regional Blood Flow