A Mathematical Prognosis Model for Pancreatic Cancer Patients Receiving Immunotherapy.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer since it typically spreads rapidly and can seldom be detected in its early stage. Pancreatic cancer therapy is thus a challenging task, and appropriate prognosis or assessment for pancreatic cancer therapy is of critical importance. In this work, based on available clinical data in Niu et al. (2013) we develop a mathematical prognosis model that can predict the overall survival of pancreatic cancer patients who receive immunotherapy. The mathematical model incorporates pancreatic cancer cells, three major classes of immune effector cells CD8+ T cells, natural killer cells, helper T cells, and two major classes of cytokines interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ). The proposed model describes the dynamic interaction between tumor and immune cells. In order for the model to be able to generate appropriate prognostic results for disease progression, the distribution and stability properties of equilibria in the mathematical model are computed and analysed in absence of treatments. In addition, numerical simulations for disease progression with or without treatments are performed. It turns out that the median overall survival associated with CIK immunotherapy is prolonged from 7 to 13months compared with the survival without treatment, this is consistent with the clinical data observed in Niu et al., 2013. The validity of the proposed mathematical prognosis model is thus verified. Our study confirms that immunotherapy offers a better prognosis for pancreatic cancer patients. As a direct extension of this work, various new therapy methods that are under exploration and clinical trials could be assessed or evaluated using the newly developed mathematical prognosis model.

Journal of theoretical biology. 2016 Jun 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Xuefang Li, Jian-Xin Xu

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576., Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576.