Glial progenitor cell recruitment drives aggressive glioma growth: Mathematical and experimental modelling

Susan Christine Massey, Marcela C. Assanah, Kim A. Lopez, Peter Canoll, Kristin R. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Currently available glioma treatments remain unsuccessful at prolonging disease-free remission. Recent evidence suggests that tumour recruitment of glial progenitor cells by platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) may play a role in the development and progression of these tumours. Building upon our recent experimental results and previous proliferation-invasion (PI) reaction- diffusion model, in this study, we created a proliferation-invasion-recruitment (PIR) model that includes a mechanism for progenitor cell recruitment, wherein paracrine PDGF signalling stimulates migration and proliferation of progenitors derived from the local brain environment. Parametrizing this mathematical model with data obtained from the PDGF-driven rat glioma model, we explored the consequences of recruitment, using the PIR model to compare the effects of high versus low PDGF secretion rates on tumour growth and invasion dynamics. The mathematical model predicts correlation between high levels of recruitment and both increased radial velocity of expansion on magnetic resonance imaging and less diffusely invasive edges. Thus, the PIR model predicts that PDGF levels correlate with tumour aggressiveness, and results are consistent with both human and experimental data, demonstrating that the effects of progenitor cell recruitment provide a novelmechanism to explain the variability in the rates of proliferation and dispersion observed in human gliomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1757-1766
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number73
StatePublished - Aug 7 2012


  • Glial progenitors
  • Glioma
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Platelet-derived growth factor
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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