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In this paper, a mathematical modeling framework is presented which describes the growth, encapsulation, and transcapsular spread of solid tumors. The model is based on the physical forces and cellular interactions involved in tumorigenesis and is used to test and compare the active (foreign body hypothesis) and passive (expansive growth hypothesis) hypotheses of capsule formation, such investigations being ideally suited to our mechanical model. The model simulations lead us to predict that, although an active response can successfully control tumor growth via the deposition of large amounts of collagen, this alone is insufficient for capsule formation. In contrast, a solely passive responsive is capable of producing an encapsulated tumor with minimal accumulation of connective tissue within the tumor. When both responses are active, a denser capsule forms and there is a significant increase in connective tissue within the tumor. Using a modified version of the model, in which tumor cells are assumed to produce degradative proteases at a rate which depends on the pressure they experience, it is also possible to show that transcapsular spread or invasion of the tumor may be due to the production by the tumor cells of proteases and their subsequent action.


Journal article


Math Biosci

Publication Date





307 - 328


Biomechanical Phenomena, Computer Simulation, Disease Progression, Endopeptidases, Extracellular Matrix, Humans, Models, Biological, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neoplasms