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This paper presents a critical review of selected topics related to the modelling of cancer onset, evolution and growth, with the aim of illustrating, to a wide applied mathematical readership, some of the novel mathematical problems in the field. This review attempts to capture, from the appropriate literature, the main issues involved in the modelling of phenomena related to cancer dynamics at all scales which characterise this highly complex system: from the molecular scale up to that of tissue. The last part of the paper discusses the challenge of developing a mathematical biological theory of tumour onset and evolution. © 2008 World Scientific Publishing Company.

Original publication




Journal article


Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences

Publication Date





593 - 646