Physics of the tumor vasculature: Theory and experiment
Theoretical Physics, Saarland University, 66123, Saarbrücken, Germany
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Accepted: 3 December 2015
Published online: 8 February 2016
Growing solid tumors recruit the blood vessel network of the host tissue for nutrient supply, continuous growth and gain of metastatic potential. Consequently the tumor vasculature has been a major target of anti cancer therapies since four decades. The main underlying strategic concepts range from “starving a tumor to death” over “blood vessel normalization” to “blood vessel growth promotion” for improved drug delivery and oxygenation for increased success rates of radiation therapy. A mechanistic understanding of the these strategies is often elusive and call for a quantitative analysis of the underlying physics. Oxygen supply as well as drug delivery is determined by blood and interstitial fluid flow, for which reason such an analysis must focus on the relation between the intra- and extra-vascular transport characteristics and the tumor vasculature morphology. Here we review the current status of theoretical concepts and computational analysis of physical determinants of the tumor vasculature and the emerging predictions for blood flow, oxygen distribution, interstitial fluid pressure and efficiency of drug delivery.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2016