Cancer cells and stromal cells cooperate by exchanging diffusible factors that sustain tumor growth, a form of frequency-dependent selection that can be studied in the framework of evolutionary game theory. In the case of multiple myeloma, three types of cells (malignant plasma cells, osteoblasts and osteoclasts) exchange growth factors with different effects, and tumor-stroma interactions have been analysed using a model of cooperation with pairwise interactions. Here we show that a model in which growth factors have autocrine and paracrine effects on multiple cells, a more realistic assumption for tumor-stroma interactions, leads to different results, with implications for disease progression and treatment. In particular, the model reveals that reducing the number of malignant plasma cells below a critical threshold can lead to their extinction and thus to restore a healthy balance between osteoclast and osteoblast, a result in line with current therapies against multiple myeloma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)