Modelling the role of cell-cell adhesion in the growth and development of carcinomas
Byrne HM., Chaplain MAJ.
In this paper, a mathematical model is presented to describe the evolution of an avascular solid tumour in response to an externally-supplied nutrient. The growth of the tumour depends on the balance between expansive forces caused by cell proliferation and cell-cell adhesion forces which exist to maintain the tumour's compactness. Cell-cell adhesion is incorporated into the model using the Gibbs-Thomson relation which relates the change in nutrient concentration across the turnout boundary to the local curvature, this energy being used to preserve the cell cell adhesion forces. Our analysis focuses on the existence and uniqueness of steady, radially-symmetric solutions to the model, and also their stability to time-dependent and asymmetric perturbations. In particular, our analysis suggests that if the energy needed to preserve the bonds of adhesion is large then the radially-symmetric configuration is stable with respect to all asymmetric perturbations, and the tumour maintains a radially-symmetric structure-this corresponds to the growth of a benign tumour. As the energy needed to maintain the tumour's compactness diminishes so the number of modes to which the underlying radially-symmetric solution is unstable increases-this corresponds to the invasive growth of a carcinoma. The strength of the cell-cell bonds of adhesion may at some stage provide clinicians with a useful index of the invasive potential of a tumour.