Mathematical models for tumour angiogenesis: numerical simulations and nonlinear wave solutions

H. M. Byrne, M. A. J. Chaplain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


To ensure its sustained growth, a tumour may secrete chemical compounds which cause neighbouring capillaries to form sprouts which then migrate towards it, furnishing the tumour with an increased supply of nutrients. In this paper a mathematical model is presented which describes the migration of capillary sprouts in response to a chemoattractant field set up by a tumour-released angiogenic factor, sometimes termed a tumour angiogenesis factor (TAF). The resulting model admits travelling wave solutions which correspond either to successful neovascularization of the tumour or failure of the tumour to secure a vascular network, and which exhibit many of the characteristic features of angiogenesis. For example, the increasing speed of the vascular front, and the evolution of an increasingly developed vascular network behind the leading capillary tip front (the brush-border effect) are both discernible from the numerical simulations. Through the development and analysis of a simplified caricature model, valuable insight is gained into how the balance between chemotaxis, tip proliferation and tip death affects the tumour's ability to induce a vascular response from neighbouring blood vessels. In particular, it is possible to define the success of angiogenesis in terms of known parameters, thereby providing a potential framework for assessing the viability of tumour neovascularization in terms of measurable quantities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-486
Number of pages26
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Mathematical modelling
  • Tumour angiogenesis
  • Nonlinear wave solutions


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