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Open Access Open Badges Research

Effect of tumor shape and size on drug delivery to solid tumors

M Soltani and Pu Chen*

Author Affiliations

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON., Canada N2L 3G1

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Journal of Biological Engineering 2012, 6:4  doi:10.1186/1754-1611-6-4

Published: 25 April 2012


Tumor shape and size effect on drug delivery to solid tumors are studied, based on the application of the governing equations for fluid flow, i.e., the conservation laws for mass and momentum, to physiological systems containing solid tumors. The discretized form of the governing equations, with appropriate boundary conditions, is developed for predefined tumor geometries. The governing equations are solved using a numerical method, the element-based finite volume method. Interstitial fluid pressure and velocity are used to show the details of drug delivery in a solid tumor, under an assumption that drug particles flow with the interstitial fluid. Drug delivery problems have been most extensively researched in spherical tumors, which have been the simplest to examine with the analytical methods. With our numerical method, however, more complex shapes of the tumor can be studied. The numerical model of fluid flow in solid tumors previously introduced by our group is further developed to incorporate and investigate non-spherical tumors such as prolate and oblate ones. Also the effects of the surface area per unit volume of the tissue, vascular and interstitial hydraulic conductivity on drug delivery are investigated.

Drug delivery; Solid tumors; Computational fluid dynamics; Tumor shape and size; Interstitial fluid