Sci Rep. 2022 Jul 20;12(1):12373. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-15767-6.
We develop here a novel modelling approach with the aim of closing the conceptual gap between tumour-level metabolic processes and the metabolic processes occurring in individual cancer cells. In particular, the metabolism in hepatocellular carcinoma derived cell lines (HEPG2 cells) has been well characterized but implementations of multiscale models integrating this known metabolism have not been previously reported. We therefore extend a previously published multiscale model of vascular tumour growth, and integrate it with an experimentally verified network of central metabolism in HEPG2 cells. This resultant combined model links spatially heterogeneous vascular tumour growth with known metabolic networks within tumour cells and accounts for blood flow, angiogenesis, vascular remodelling and nutrient/growth factor transport within a growing tumour, as well as the movement of, and interactions between normal and cancer cells. Model simulations report for the first time, predictions of spatially resolved time courses of core metabolites in HEPG2 cells. These simulations can be performed at a sufficient scale to incorporate clinically relevant features of different tumour systems using reasonable computational resources. Our results predict larger than expected temporal and spatial heterogeneity in the intracellular concentrations of glucose, oxygen, lactate pyruvate, f16bp and Acetyl-CoA. The integrated multiscale model developed here provides an ideal quantitative framework in which to study the relationship between dosage, timing, and scheduling of anti-neoplastic agents and the physiological effects of tumour metabolism at the cellular level. Such models, therefore, have the potential to inform treatment decisions when drug response is dependent on the metabolic state of individual cancer cells.