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A seven-step guide to spatial, agent-based modelling of tumour evolution

Colyer, B., Bak, M., Basanta, D. & Noble, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-8057-4252 (2023). A seven-step guide to spatial, agent-based modelling of tumour evolution. doi: 10.48550/arXiv.2311.03569


Spatial agent-based models are increasingly used to investigate the evolution of solid tumours subject to localised cell-cell interactions and microenvironmental heterogeneity. Here we present a non-technical step by step guide to developing such a model from first principles, aimed at both aspiring modellers and other biologists and oncologists who wish to understand the assumptions and limitations of this approach. Stressing the importance of tailoring the model structure to that of the biological system, we describe methods of increasing complexity, from the basic Eden growth model up to off-lattice simulations with diffusible factors. We examine choices that unavoidably arise in model design, such as implementation, parameterisation, visualisation, and reproducibility. Each topic is illustrated with examples drawn from recent research studies and state of the art modelling platforms. We emphasise the benefits of simpler models that aim to match the complexity of the phenomena of interest, rather than that of the entire biological system.

Publication Type: Other (Preprint)
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
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