Chalmers Conferences, 9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

Investigation of the effect of phenotypic plasticity on tumor growth
Katrin Boettger

Last modified: 2014-06-09


Tumor cells possess a remarkable phenotypic plasticity that allows adaptation to changing
environmental conditions. Prominent examples are the epithelial‐mesenchymal transition
and the shift towards glycolitic, anaerobic cell metabolism, known as Warburg effect. A
further example is phenotypic plasticity with respect to cell proliferation and migration, a
phenomenon known as go‐or‐grow mechanism. It has been suggested that local cell density
is a key factor for the regulation of the switch. However, potential effects of a densitydependent
switch between migratory and proliferative phenotypes on tumor growth have
not been investigated so far. To address this problem, we formulate and study a
mathematical model of spatio‐temporal tumor dynamics where different responses to local
cell density mediate the go‐or‐grow dichotomy. Our analysis reveals that different dynamic
regimes can be distinguished. We discuss potential implications of our findings for the
interpretation of recent experiments on tumor progression and for the design of new tumor