Mathematical modeling reveals that the administration of EGF can promote the elimination of lymph node metastases by PD-1/PD-L1 blockade

In the advanced stages of cancers like melanoma, some of the malignant cells leave the primary tumor and infiltrate the neighboring lymph nodes (LNs). The interaction between secondary cancer and the immune response in the lymph node represents a complex process that needs to be fully understood in order to develop more effective immunotherapeutic strategies. In this process, antigen-presenting cells (APCs) approach the tumor and initiate the adaptive immune response for the corresponding antigen. They stimulate the naive CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes which subsequently generate a population of helper and effector cells. On one hand, immune cells can eliminate tumor cells using cell-cell contact and by secreting apoptosis inducing cytokines. They are also able to induce their dormancy. On the other hand, the tumor cells are able to escape the immune surveillance using their immunosuppressive abilities. To study the interplay between tumor progression and the immune response, we develop two new models describing the interaction between cancer and immune cells in the lymph node. The first model consists of partial differential equations (PDEs) describing the populations of the different types of cells. The second one is a hybrid discrete-continuous model integrating the mechanical and biochemical mechanisms that define the tumor-immune interplay in the lymph node. We use the continuous model to determine the conditions of the regimes of tumor-immune interaction in the lymph node. While we use the hybrid model to elucidate the mechanisms that contribute to the development of each regime at the cellular and tissue levels. We study the dynamics of tumor growth in the absence of immune cells. Then, we consider the immune response and we quantify the effects of immunosuppression and local EGF concentration on the fate of the tumor. Numerical simulations of the two models show the existence of three possible outcomes of the tumor-immune interactions in the lymph node that coincide with the main phases of the immunoediting process: tumor elimination, equilibrium, and tumor evasion. Both models predict that the administration of EGF can promote the elimination of the secondary tumor by PD-1/PD-L1 blockade. © 2019 Benchaib, Bouchnita, Volpert and Makhoute.

Benchaib M.A.1 , Bouchnita A.2 , Volpert V. 3, 4, 5, 6 , Makhoute A.1, 7
Frontiers Media S.A.
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  • 1 Faculté des Sciences, Université Moulay Ismail, Meknes, Morocco
  • 2 Division of Scientific Computing, Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3 Institut Camille Jordan, Université Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France
  • 4 INRIA Team Dracula, INRIA Lyon La Doua, Villeurbanne, France
  • 5 Peoples Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 6 Marchuk Institute of Numerical Mathematics of the RAS, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 7 Faculty of Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium
Cancer immune interaction; Hybrid modeling; Immune response; Multiscale modeling; PD-1/PD-L1
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