What is it about?

This work describes a first in computational modeling of lung tumors. The model simulates tumor architecture under the stretch of respiration and predicts strain amplification at the tumor edge. The model also shows that strain can generate tracks of thickened or fibrotic tissue that serve as conduits for cancer cell spread. Such tracks are observed in early human and mouse model lung tumors, suggesting that these mechanical signals are relevant to early lung cancer progression.

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Why is it important?

New lung cancer screening efforts aim to catch and treat patients at the earliest stages of disease. However, we have relatively little information on the biology of these early lesions. This study brings the field of biomechanics to cancer biology and a new way of thinking about early tumorigenesis. The computational modeling shows that early growths alter how strain is distributed throughout the lung.


These types of transdisciplinary collaborations between experts in computational biomechanics and cancer biology are driving new advances in fundamental cancer research problems.

Dr. Michelle Mendoza
University of Utah

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This page is a summary of: Mechanics of lung cancer: A finite element model shows strain amplification during early tumorigenesis, PLoS Computational Biology, October 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1010153.
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