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Cancer treatment scheduling and dynamic heterogeneity in social dilemmas of tumour acidity and vasculature

By Artem Kaznatcheev, Robert Vander Velde, Jacob G. Scott, David Basanta

Posted 02 Aug 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/067488 (published DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2017.5)

Background: Tumours are diverse ecosystems with persistent heterogeneity in various cancer hallmarks like self-sufficiency of growth factor production for angiogenesis and reprogramming of energy-metabolism for aerobic glycolysis. This heterogeneity has consequences for diagnosis, treatment, and disease progression. Methods: We introduce the double goods game to study the dynamics of these traits using evolutionary game theory. We model glycolytic acid production as a public good for all tumour cells and oxygen from vascularization via VEGF production as a club good benefiting non-glycolytic tumour cells. This results in three viable phenotypic strategies: glycolytic, angiogenic, and aerobic non-angiogenic. Results: We classify the dynamics into three qualitatively distinct regimes: (1) fully glycolytic, (2) fully angiogenic, or (3) polyclonal in all three cell types. The third regime allows for dynamic heterogeneity even with linear goods, something that was not possible in prior public good models that considered glycolysis or growth-factor production in isolation. Conclusion: The cyclic dynamics of the polyclonal regime stress the importance of timing for anti-glycolysis treatments like lonidamine. The existence of qualitatively different dynamic regimes highlights the order effects of treatments. In particular, we consider the potential of vascular renormalization as a neoadjuvant therapy before follow up with interventions like buffer therapy.

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