Resistance to antitumor chemotherapy due to bounded-noise-induced transitions

Alberto D'Onofrio, Alberto Gandolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor angiogenesis is a landmark of solid tumor development, but it is also directly relevant to chemotherapy. Indeed, the density and quality of neovessels may influence the effectiveness of therapies based on blood-born agents. In this paper, first we define a deterministic model of antiproliferative chemotherapy in which the drug efficacy is a unimodal function of vessel density, and then we show that under constant continuous infusion therapy the tumor-vessel system may be multistable. However, the actual drug concentration profiles are affected by bounded even if possibly large fluctuations. Through numerical simulations, we show that the tumor volume may undergo transitions to the higher equilibrium value induced by the bounded noise. In case of periodically delivered boli-based chemotherapy, we model the fluctuations due to time variability of both the drug clearance rate and the distribution volume, as well as those due to irregularities in drug delivery. We observed noise-induced transitions also in case of periodic delivering. By applying a time dense scheduling with constant average delivered drug (metronomic scheduling), we observed an easier suppression of the transitions. Finally, we propose to interpret the above phenomena as an unexpected non-genetic kind of resistance to chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number061901
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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