Integrated PK-PD and agent-based modeling in oncology

  • Zhihui Wang
  • Joseph D. Butner
  • Vittorio Cristini
  • Thomas S. Deisboeck
Review Paper


Mathematical modeling has become a valuable tool that strives to complement conventional biomedical research modalities in order to predict experimental outcome, generate new medical hypotheses, and optimize clinical therapies. Two specific approaches, pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) modeling, and agent-based modeling (ABM), have been widely applied in cancer research. While they have made important contributions on their own (e.g., PK-PD in examining chemotherapy drug efficacy and resistance, and ABM in describing and predicting tumor growth and metastasis), only a few groups have started to combine both approaches together in an effort to gain more insights into the details of drug dynamics and the resulting impact on tumor growth. In this review, we focus our discussion on some of the most recent modeling studies building on a combined PK-PD and ABM approach that have generated experimentally testable hypotheses. Some future directions are also discussed.


Chemotherapy Computer simulation Mathematical modeling Multiscale Tumor growth and invasion Translational research 



This work has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant DMS-1263742 (Z.W., V.C.), the National Institutes of Health Grant (NIH) 1U54CA149196, 1U54CA143837, 1U54CA151668, 1U54CA143907 (V.C.), King Abdulaziz University (KAU) Grant No. 54-130-35-HiCi (V.C.), the University of New Mexico Cancer Center Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Professorship in Molecular Modeling of Cancer (V.C.), and the Harvard-MIT (HST) Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital (T.S.D.). Finally, we apologize to those of our colleagues whose works could not be cited due to space limitations.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhihui Wang
    • 1
  • Joseph D. Butner
    • 2
  • Vittorio Cristini
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thomas S. Deisboeck
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering and Center for Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics, Faculty of ScienceKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolCharlestownUSA

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