A mathematical model of glioma growth: the effect of extent of surgical resection

  • Woodward D
  • Cook J
  • Tracqui P
 et al. 
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Abstract

We have developed a mathematical model based on proliferation and infiltration of neoplastic cells that allows predictions to be made concerning the life expectancies following various extents of surgical resection of gliomas of all grades of malignancy. The key model parameters are the growth rate and the diffusion rate. These rates were initially derived from analysis of a case of recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma treated by chemotherapies. Numerical simulations allow us to estimate what would have happened to that patient if various extents of surgical resection, rather than chemotherapies, had been used. In each case, the shell of the infiltrating tumour that remains after 'gross total removal' or even a maximal excision continues to grow and regenerates the tumour mass remarkably rapidly. By developing a model that allows the growth and diffusion rates to define the distribution of cells at the time of diagnosis, and then varying these rates by about 50%, we created a hypothetical tumour patient population whose survival times show good agreement with the results recently reported by Kreth for treatments of glioblastomas. Tenfold decreases in the rates of growth and diffusion mimic the results reported by many other investigators with more slowly growing gliomas. Thus, the model quantitatively supports the ideas that (i) gliomas infiltrate so diffusely that they cannot be cured by resection alone, surgical or radiological, no matter how extensive that may be; (ii) the more extensive the resection, regardless of the degree of malignancy of the glioma, the greater the life expectancy; and (iii) measurements of the two rates, growth and diffusion, may be able to predict survival rates better than the current histological estimates of the type and grade of gliomas.

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Models, Biological
  • Cell Division/physiology
  • Glioma/*pathology/*surgery
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Recurrence
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative/methods
  • Survival Analysis

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Authors

  • D E Woodward

  • J Cook

  • P Tracqui

  • G C Cruywagen

  • J D Murray

  • E C Alvord Jr.

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