A mathematical model quantifies proliferation and motility effects of TGF-β on cancer cells

Shizhen Emily Wang, Peter Hinow, Nicole Bryce, Alissa M. Weaver, Lourdes Estrada, Carlos L. Arteaga, Glenn F. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta; is known to have properties of both a tumour suppressor and a tumour promoter. While it inhibits cell proliferation, it also increases cell motility and decreases cell-cell adhesion. Coupling mathematical modelling and experiments, we investigate the growth and motility of oncogene-expressing human mammary epithelial cells under exposure to TGF-beta;. We use a version of the well-known Fisher-Kolmogorov equation, and prescribe a procedure for its parametrisation. We quantify the simultaneous effects of TGF-beta; to increase the tendency of individual cells and cell clusters to move randomly and to decrease overall population growth. We demonstrate that in experiments with TGF-beta; treated cells in vitro, TGF-beta; increases cell motility by a factor of 2 and decreases cell proliferation by a factor of 1/2 in comparison with untreated cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-83
Number of pages13
JournalComputational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Cell growth and motility
  • Fisher-Kolmogorov equation
  • Mathematical model
  • Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta;

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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