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Gliomas are very aggressive brain tumours, in which tumour cells gain the ability to penetrate the surrounding normal tissue. The invasion mechanisms of this type of tumour remain to be elucidated. Our work is motivated by the migration/proliferation dichotomy (go-or-grow) hypothesis, i.e. the antagonistic migratory and proliferating cellular behaviours in a cell population, which may play a central role in these tumours. In this paper, we formulate a simple go-or-grow model to investigate the dynamics of a population of glioma cells for which the switch from a migratory to a proliferating phenotype (and vice versa) depends on the local cell density. The model consists of two reaction-diffusion equations describing cell migration, proliferation and a phenotypic switch. We use a combination of numerical and analytical techniques to characterize the development of spatio-temporal instabilities and travelling wave solutions generated by our model. We demonstrate that the density-dependent go-or-grow mechanism can produce complex dynamics similar to those associated with tumour heterogeneity and invasion.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Dyn

Publication Date



6 Suppl 1


54 - 71


Brain Neoplasms, Cell Count, Cell Cycle, Cell Movement, Cell Proliferation, Diffusion, Glioma, Humans, Models, Biological, Neoplasm Invasiveness, Time Factors