Journal of Theoretical Medicine
Volume 3 (2000), Issue 1, Pages 25-36

Gradient Method for Finding Optimal Scheduling in Infinite Dimensional Models of Chemotherapy

Institute Automation, Silesian Technical University Akademicka 16, Gliwice 1644–100, Poland

Received 1 November 1998; Accepted 20 March 2000

Copyright © 2000 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 major obstacles against succesful chemotherapy of cancer is the emergence of resistance of cancer cells to cytotoxic agents. Applying optimal control theory to mathematical models of cell cycle dynamics can be a very efficient method to understand and, eventually, overcome this problem. Results that have been hitherto obtained have already helped to explain some observed phenomena, concerning dynamical properties of cancer populations. Because of recent progress in understanding the way in which chemotherapy affects cancer cells, new insights and more precise mathematical formulation of control problem, in the meaning of finding optimal chemotherapy, became possible. This, together with a progress in mathematical tools, has renewed hopes for improving chemotherapy protocols. In this paper we consider a population of neoplastic cells stratified into subpopulations of cells of different types. Due to the mutational event a sensitive cell can acquire a copy of the gene that makes it resistant to the agent. Likewise, the division of resistant cells can result in the change of the number of gene copies. We convert the model in the form of an infinite dimensional system of ordinary differential state equations discussed in our previous publications (see e.g. Swierniak etal., 1996b; Polariski etal., 1997; Swierniak etaL, 1998c), into the integro-differential form. It enables application of the necessary conditions of optimality given by the appropriate version of Pontryagin's maximum principle, e.g. (Gabasov and Kirilowa, 1971). The performance index which should be minimized combines the negative cumulated cytotoxic effect of the drug and the terminal population of both sensitive and resistant neoplastic cells. The linear form of the cost function and the bilinear form of the state equation result in a bang-bang optimal control law. To find the switching times we propose to use a special gradient algorithm developed similarly to the one applied in our previous papers to finite dimensional problems (Duda 1994; 1997).