Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 10 (2009), Issue 3, Pages 165-184
Original Article

Mathematical Model Creation for Cancer Chemo-Immunotherapy

1Department of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA, USA
2Department of Mathematics, Murray State University, Murray, KY, USA
3Murray State University, Murray, KY, USA
4Williams College, Williamstown, MA, USA
5Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA, USA

Received 23 February 2008; Accepted 13 May 2008

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the most challenging tasks in constructing a mathematical model of cancer treatment is the calculation of biological parameters from empirical data. This task becomes increasingly difficult if a model involves several cell populations and treatment modalities. A sophisticated model constructed by de Pillis et al., Mixed immunotherapy and chemotherapy of tumours: Modelling, applications and biological interpretations, J. Theor. Biol. 238 (2006), pp. 841–862; involves tumour cells, specific and non-specific immune cells (natural killer (NK) cells, CD8+T cells and other lymphocytes) and employs chemotherapy and two types of immunotherapy (IL-2 supplementation and CD8+T-cell infusion) as treatment modalities. Despite the overall success of the aforementioned model, the problem of illustrating the effects of IL-2 on a growing tumour remains open. In this paper, we update the model of de Pillis et al. and then carefully identify appropriate values for the parameters of the new model according to recent empirical data. We determine new NK and tumour antigen-activated CD8+T-cell count equilibrium values; we complete IL-2 dynamics; and we modify the model in de Pillis et al. to allow for endogenous IL-2 production, IL-2-stimulated NK cell proliferation and IL-2-dependent CD8+T-cell self-regulations. Finally, we show that the potential patient-specific efficacy of immunotherapy may be dependent on experimentally determinable parameters.