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Multiscale Modelling of Fibres Dynamics and Cell Adhesion within Moving Boundary Cancer Invasion

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Abstract

Cancer cell invasion is recognised as one of the hallmarks of cancer and involves several inner-related multiscale processes that ultimately contribute to its spread into the surrounding tissue. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the tumour invasion process, we pay special attention to the interacting dynamics between the cancer cell population and various constituents of the surrounding tumour microenvironment. To that end, we consider the key role that ECM plays within the human body tissue, providing not only structure and support to surrounding cells, but also acting as a platform for cells communication and spatial movement. There are several other vital structures within the ECM, however we are going to focus primarily on fibrous proteins, such as fibronectin. These fibres play a crucial role in tumour progression, enabling the anchorage of tumour cells to the ECM. In this work we consider the two-scale dynamic cross-talk between cancer cells and a two component ECM (consisting of both a fibre and a non-fibre phase). To that end, we incorporate the interlinked two-scale dynamics of cells-ECM interactions within the tumour support that contributes simultaneously both to cell-adhesion and to the dynamic rearrangement and restructuring of the ECM fibres. Furthermore, this is embedded within a multiscale moving boundary approach for the invading cancer cell population, in the presence of cell-adhesion at the tissue scale and cell-scale fibre redistribution activity and leading edge matrix degrading enzyme molecular proteolytic processes. The overall modelling framework will be accompanied by computational results that will explore the impact on cancer invasion patterns of different levels of cell adhesion in conjunction with the continuous ECM fibres rearrangement.

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The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a highly organised structure with the capacity to direct cell migration through their tendency to follow matrix fibres, a process known as contact guidance. Amoeboid cell populations migrate in the ECM by making frequent shape changes and have minimal impact on its structure. Mesenchymal cells actively remodel the matrix to generate the space in which they can move. In this paper, these different types of movement are studied through simulation of a continuous transport model. It is shown that the process of contact guidance in a structured ECM can spatially organise cell populations. Furthermore, when combined with ECM remodelling, it can give rise to cellular pattern formation in the form of "cell-chains" or networks without additional environmental cues such as chemoattractants. These results are applied to a simple model for tumour invasion where it is shown that the interactions between invading cells and the ECM structure surrounding the tumour can have a profound impact on the pattern and rate of cell infiltration, including the formation of characteristic "fingering" patterns. The results are further discussed in the context of a variety of relevant processes during embryonic and adult stages.
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The availability of multi-photon intravital microscopy has recently allowed researchers to start to visualise the dynamic behaviour of cancer cells in vivo. This imaging has revealed that many cancer cells ranging from carcinoma to melanoma move in an amoeboid manner in order to invade surrounding tissue and escape from the primary tumour. This mode on cell motility is extremely rapid and does not require the activity of proteases to degrade the extra-cellular matrix (ECM). This review details the techniques that are available to study cell motility in vivo and discusses the current knowledge about the mechanisms of amoeboid cell motility.
Article
Background: The matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have a role in gastrointestinal malignancy. This role is reviewed, with particular reference to the gelatinase subgroup of enzymes. Methods: All relevant papers derived from the Medline and Enbase databases between 1984 and early 1996 were reviewed. Result and conclusion: There is now strong evidence that MMPs play a major role in tumour invasion and metastasis. The development of MMP inhibitors may lead to important new treatment for the control of malignant disease.
Article
Angiogenesis, the formation of blood vessels from a pre-existing vasculature, is a process whereby capillary sprouts are formed in response to externally supplied chemical stimuli. The sprouts then grow and develop, driven by endothelial cell migration and proliferation, and organise themselves into a dendritic structure. Angiogenesis occurs during embryogenesis, wound healing, arthritis and during the growth of solid tumours. In this paper we present a novel mathematical model which describes the formation of the capillary sprout network in response to chemical stimuli (tumour angiogenesis factors, TAF) supplied by a solid tumour. The model also takes into account endothelial cell-extracellular matrix interactions via the inclusion of fibronectin in the model. The model consists of a system of nonlinear partial differential equations describing the response in space and time of endothelial cells to the TAF and the fibronectin (migration, proliferation, anastomosis, branching). Using the discretized system of partial differential equations, we use a deterministic cellular automata (DCA) model, which enables us to track individual endothelial cells and incorporate branching explicity into the model. Numerical simulations are presented which are in very good qualitative agreement with experimental observations. Certain experiments are suggested which could be used to test the hypotheses of the model and various extensions and developments of the model with particular applications to anti-angiogenesis strategies are discussed.
Article
Agonist-evoked, intracellular Ca2+-signalling events are associated with active extrusion of Ca2+ across the plasma membrane, implying a local increase in Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]) at the extracellular face of the cell. The possibility that these external [Ca2+] changes may have specific physiological functions has received little consideration in the past. Here we show that, at physiological ambient [Ca2+], Ca2+ mobilization in one cell produces an extracellular signal that can be detected in nearby cells expressing the extracellular Ca2+-sensing receptor (CaR), a cell-surface receptor for divalent cations with a widespread tissue distribution. The CaR may therefore mediate a universal form of intercellular communication that allows cells to be informed of the Ca2+-signalling status of their neighbours.
Article
In connective tissues, intercellular adhesion is essential for tissue morphogenesis, development and wound healing. However, the signaling mechanisms initiated by cell-cell adhesion in fibroblasts and that regulate it are not known. In this study we tested the hypothesis that intracellular calcium signaling is required to mediate intercellular adhesion between fibroblasts. Fura-2 or fluo-3 labeled human fibroblasts were used to investigate calcium homeostasis during intercellular adhesion. After contact with suspended fibroblasts there was a rise in cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]i) and multiple calcium oscillations in substrate-attached cells. Antibodies against the extracellular but not the cytoplasmic domain of cadherin induced a similar calcium response, indicating that these responses were initiated by cadherin binding. As shown by the near-plasma membrane Ca2+ indicator (Fura-C18) and by confocal microscopy of fluo-3-loaded cells, [Ca2+]i transients probably originated at sites of cell-cell contact. Cell-cell adhesion was dependent on both calcium influx through membrane channels and release of Ca2+ from internal calcium stores, because the calcium channel inhibitor LaCl3 or pretreatment of cells with thapsigargin significantly inhibited (>35%) cell-cell attachment. The [Ca2+]i changes induced by cell-cell adhesion were temporally correlated with increased recruitment of intercellular junctional proteins into the cytoskeleton and movement of GFP-actin to sites of cell-cell contact. [Ca2+]i responses induced by intercellular adhesion were essential for both junctional protein recruitment and the establishment of strong cell-cell contacts, as loading cells with BAPTA/AM significantly inhibited cell-cell adhesion and recruitment of cadherins and beta-catenin to the actin cytoskeleton. Actin depolymerization by cytochalasin D dramatically reduced cell-cell adhesion and recruitment of cadherins and catenin to the actin cytoskeleton. These results demonstrate that cadherin-cadherin interaction induces [Ca2+]i transients during cell-cell adhesion in fibroblasts, and these calcium signals regulate cell-cell adhesion through remodeling of cortical actin and recruitment of cadherins and beta-catenin into intercellular junctions.
Article
The immunohistochemical expression of the extracellular matrix (ECM) components tenascin (TN), fibronectin (FN), collagen type IV (Coll) and laminin (LN), and their possible relationships were studied in a series of 134 operable breast cancer cases. Their expression was also compared with the expression of the proteolytic enzyme cathepsin D (CD), the adhesion molecule CD44 standard form (CD44s) and other known factors to clarify the prognostic value and role of these molecules in tumour progression and metastasis. TN expression in the tumour stroma was positively correlated with tumour grade and size, CD44s expression, tumour and stromal CD expression as well as with FN, laminin and Coll expression in the same areas. TN expression was inverse correlated with ER status. Its expression at the invasion front was only positively correlated with the lymph node status. Survival analysis showed an increased mortality risk associated with high levels of TN expression. In multivariate analysis, among the ECM proteins, only TN expression was independently correlated with patients' survival. FN expression was positively correlated with lymph node involvement, with the proliferation-associated index Ki-67 and stromal CD expression. Survival analysis showed an increased mortality risk associated with a high level of FN expression. Coll expression was positively correlated with the tumour size and LN expression. An inverse relationship of Coll expression with ER and PgR receptor status was also found. LN expression was positively correlated with tumour and stromal CD expression, with the proliferation-associated index Ki-67 and inversely with ER receptor status. The observed alterations in the expression of ECM proteins in breast cancer tissue and their correlations with the proteolytic enzyme CD and the adhesion molecule CD44s, suggest an involvement in cancer progression. In addition, overexpression of stromal TN and FN seems to have negative prognostic value in breast cancer patients.
Article
Angiogenesis, the growth of a network of blood vessels, is a crucial component of solid tumor growth, linking the relatively harmless avascular and the potentially fatal vascular growth phases of the tumor. As a process, angiogenesis is a well-orchestrated sequence of events involving endothelial cell migration and proliferation; degradation of tissue; new capillary vessel formation; loop formation (anastomosis) and, crucially, blood flow through the network. Once there is flow associated with the nascent network, subsequent growth evolves both temporally and spatially in response to the combined effects of angiogenic factors, migratory cues via the extracellular matrix, and perfusion-related hemodynamic forces in a manner that may be described as both adaptive and dynamic. In this article, we first present a review of previous theoretical and computational models of angiogenesis and then indicate how recent developments in flow models are providing insight into antiangiogenic and chemotherapeutic drug treatment of solid tumors.
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