Cell kinetics in tumour cords studied by a model with variable cell cycle length
A mathematical model is developed that describes the proliferative behaviour at the stationary state of the cell population within a tumour cord, i.e. in a cylindrical arrangement of tumour cells growing around a blood vessel and surrounded by necrosis. The model, that represents the tumour cord as a continuum, accounts for the migration of cells from the inner to the outer zone of the cord and describes the cell cycle by a sequence of maturity compartments plus a possible quiescent compartment. Cell-to-cell variability of cycle phase transit times and changes in the cell kinetic parameters within the cord, related to changes of the microenvironment, can be represented in the model. The theoretical predictions are compared against literature data of the time course of the labelling index and of the fraction of labelled mitoses in an experimental tumour after pulse labelling with 3H-thymidine. It is shown that the presence of cell migration within the cord can lead to a marked underestimation of the actual changes along cord radius of the kinetics of cell cycle progression.