IEEE J Biomed Health Inform 2016 Mar 30;20(2):596-605. Epub 2015 Jan 30.
This paper describes a patient-specific mathematical model to predict the evolution of uterine cervical tumors at a macroscopic scale, during fractionated external radiotherapy. The model provides estimates of tumor regrowth and dead-cell reabsorption, incorporating the interplay between tumor regression rate and radiosensitivity, as a function of the tumor oxygenation level. Model parameters were estimated by minimizing the difference between predicted and measured tumor volumes, these latter being obtained from a set of 154 serial cone-beam computed tomography scans acquired on 16 patients along the course of the therapy. The model stratified patients according to two different estimated dynamics of dead-cell removal and to the predicted initial value of the tumor oxygenation. The comparison with a simpler model demonstrated an improvement in fitting properties of this approach (fitting error average value <5%, p < 0.01), especially in case of tumor late responses, which can hardly be handled by models entailing a constant radiosensitivity, failing to model changes from initial severe hypoxia to aerobic conditions during the treatment course. The model predictive capabilities suggest the need of clustering patients accounting for cancer cell line, tumor staging, as well as microenvironment conditions (e.g., oxygenation level).