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10/08/2009

A Multiphysics Model of Myoma Growth

Dominik Szczerba, Bryn A. Lloyd, Michael Bajka, and Gabor Szekely, in International Journal for Multiscale Computational Engineering, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 17–27, August 2009.


We present a first attempt to create an in silico model of a uterine leiomyoma, a typical exponent of a common benign tumor. We employ a finite element model to investigate the interaction between nutrient-driven growth of the pathology and the mechanical response of the surrounding healthy tissue. The model includes neoplastic tissue growth, oxygen and growth factor transport, and angiogenic sprouting. Neovascularisation is addressed implicitly by modeling proliferation of endothelial cells and their migration up the gradients of the angiogenic growth factor, produced in hypoxic regions of the tumor. The response of the surrounding healthy tissue in our model is that of a viscoelastic material, whereby a stress exerted by the expanding neoplasm is slowly dissipated. The model parameters are estimated based on data from the available literature. By incorporating the interplay of a few underlying processes in one multiphysics simulation, we are able to explain some experimental findings on the pathology's phenotype. The model has the potential to become a computer simulation tool to study various growing conditions and treatment strategies and to predict posttreatment conditions of a benign tumor.

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