Delay effects in the response of low grade gliomas to radiotherapy: A mathematical model and its therapeutical implications
(Submitted on 12 Jan 2014)
Low grade gliomas (LGGs) are a group of primary brain tumors usually encountered in young patient populations. These tumors represent a difficult challenge because many patients survive a decade or more and may be at a higher risk for treatment-related complications. Specifically, radiation therapy is known to have a relevant effect on survival but in many cases it can be deferred to avoid side effects while maintaining its beneficial effect. However, a subset of low-grade gliomas manifests more aggressive clinical behavior and requires earlier intervention. Moreover, the effectiveness of radiotherapy depends on the tumor characteristics. Recently Pallud et al., [Neuro-oncology, 14(4):1-10, 2012], studied patients with LGGs treated with radiation therapy as a first line therapy. and found the counterintuitive result that tumors with a fast response to the therapy had a worse prognosis than those responding late. In this paper we construct a mathematical model describing the basic facts of glioma progression and response to radiotherapy. The model provides also an explanation to the observations of Pallud et al. Using the model we propose radiation fractionation schemes that might be therapeutically useful by helping to evaluate the tumor malignancy while at the same time reducing the toxicity associated to the treatment.