An improved method for calculating tumor growth

March 8, 2010

When treating cancer, it is an advantage to know the rate of growth of the cancer tumour. The standard method currently used to determine tumour growth, however, is erroneous. This is the conclusion of scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who have developed a new model.

The principal reason that patients die of is the spread of through the body to form new tumours known as . These metastases are initially so small that they cannot be detected by modern diagnostic methods. The healthcare system must therefore, when treatment begins, rely on mathematical models to calculate the growth of a tumour.

The standard method for describing tumour growth uses a parameter known as "doubling time" (DT), which specifies the time it takes for a tumour to double in volume. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg have now shown that this widely applied calculation method is erroneous.

Scientist Esmaeil Mehrara and his colleagues at the Department of Radiation Physics, University of Gothenburg, have developed a new method that calculates the rate of tumour growth more accurately. The new method uses a parameter known as the specific growth rate (SGR), which measures the percentage growth of the tumour per day.

The new method improves the possibility of determining the effects of various treatment alternatives.
"The standard method used to determine the effect of therapy does not take the rate of tumour growth into account, while our new model does. This means that we can measure more accurately even small effects of treatment", says Esmaeil Mehrara.

It is hoped that the new method using SGR will be valuable in determining whether a treatment is having an effect or not in a particular patient. This means that the best treatment for a patient can be found more rapidly than is the case today.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study prompts new ideas on cancers' origins

December 16, 2017
Rapidly dividing, yet aberrant stem cells are a major source of cancer. But a new study suggests that mature cells also play a key role in initiating cancer—a finding that could upend the way scientists think about the ...

What does hair loss have to teach us about cancer metastasis?

December 15, 2017
Understanding how cancer cells are able to metastasize—migrate from the primary tumor to distant sites in the body—and developing therapies to inhibit this process are the focus of many laboratories around the country. ...

Cancer immunotherapy may work better in patients with specific genes

December 15, 2017
Cancer cells arise when DNA is mutated, and these cells should be recognized as "foreign" by the immune system. However, cancer cells have found ways to evade detection by the immune system.

Scientists pinpoint gene to blame for poorer survival rate in early-onset breast cancer patients

December 15, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the University of Southampton has found that inherited variation in a particular gene may be to blame for the lower survival rate of patients diagnosed with early-onset breast cancer.

Scientists unlock structure of mTOR, a key cancer cell signaling protein

December 14, 2017
Researchers in the Sloan Kettering Institute have solved the structure of an important signaling molecule in cancer cells. They used a new technology called cryo-EM to visualize the structure in three dimensions. The detailed ...

'Bet hedging' explains the efficacy of many combination cancer therapies

December 14, 2017
The efficacy of many FDA-approved cancer drug combinations is not due to synergistic interactions between drugs, but rather to a form of "bet hedging," according to a new study published by Harvard Medical School researchers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.