Modeling and simulation of vascular tumors embedded in evolving capillary networks


In this work, we present a coupled 3D–1D model of solid tumor growth within a dynamically changing vascular network to facilitate realistic simulations of angiogenesis. Additionally, the model includes erosion of the extracellular matrix, interstitial flow, and coupled flow in blood vessels and tissue. We employ continuum mixture theory with stochastic Cahn–Hilliard type phase-field models of tumor growth. The interstitial flow is governed by a mesoscale version of Darcy’s law. The flow in the blood vessels is controlled by Poiseuille flow, and Starling’s law is applied to model the mass transfer in and out of blood vessels. The evolution of the network of blood vessels is orchestrated by the concentration of the tumor angiogenesis factors (TAFs); blood vessels grow towards the increasing TAFs concentrations. This process is not deterministic, allowing random growth of blood vessels and, therefore, due to the coupling of nutrients in tissue and vessels, makes the growth of tumors stochastic. We demonstrate the performance of the model by applying it to a variety of scenarios. Numerical experiments illustrate the flexibility of the model and its ability to generate satellite tumors. Simulations of the effects of angiogenesis on tumor growth are presented as well as sample-independent features of cancer.

Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering