Interstitial fluid flow plays a critical role in tumor cell invasion, yet this role has not been explored extensively in combination with other microenvironmental factors. Here, we establish a novel computational model of three-dimensional breast cancer cell migration to unveil the effect of interstitial fluid flow in the dependence of various extracellular matrix (ECM) physical properties. Our model integrates several principal factors: fluid dynamics, autologous chemotaxis, collagen fiber network structure, ECM stiffness, and cell-fiber and cell-flow interaction. First, independently with an aligned collagen fiber network and interstitial fluid flow, this model is validated by successfully reproducing the cell migration patterns. In the model, the interstitial fluid flow leads to directional symmetry breaking of chemotactic migration and synergizes with the ECM orientation to regulate cell migration. This synergy is universal in both the mesenchymal and the amoeboid migration modes, despite the fact that the cell-ECM interaction are different. Consequently, we construct a cell displacement function depending on these factors. Our cell migration model enables three-dimensional cancer migration prediction, mechanism exploration, and inhibition treatment design in a complex tumor microenvironment.
Bibliographical noteAvailable online 2nd October 2019
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