Computational modelling of cancer development and growth: modelling at multiple scales and multiscale modelling

Zuzanna Szymanska, Maciej Cytowski, Elaine Mitchell, Cicely K. Macnamara, Mark A. J. Chaplain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present two mathematical models related to different aspects and scales of cancer growth. The first model is a stochastic spatiotemporal model of both a synthetic gene regulatory network (the example of a three-gene repressilator is given) and an actual gene regulatory network, the NF- κB pathway. The second model is a force-based individual-based model of the development of a solid avascular tumour with specific application to tumour cords, i.e. a mass of cancer cells growing around a central blood vessel. In each case, we compare our computational simulation results with experimental data. In the final discussion section, we outline how to take the work forward through the development of a multiscale model focussed at the cell level. This would incorporate key intracellular signalling pathways associated with cancer within each cell (e.g. p53–Mdm2, NF- κB) and through the use of high-performance computing be capable of simulating up to 109 cells, i.e. the tissue scale. In this way, mathematical models at multiple scales would be combined to formulate a multiscale computational model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1366-1403
Number of pages38
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number5
Early online date20 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Multiscale cancer modelling
  • Gene regulatory network
  • Spatial stochastic model
  • Individual based model
  • Computational simulations


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