The University of Arizona

The role of the immune system in FOLFOX treatment of colorectal adenocarcinoma

The role of the immune system in FOLFOX treatment of colorectal adenocarcinoma

Series: Program in Applied Mathematics Brown Bag Seminar
Location: Math 402
Presenter: Victoria Gershuny, Program in Applied Mathematics, University of Arizona

In recent years, advances in cancer research have shown that the body’s immune response to tumor cells plays a significant role in fighting cancer growth. Some of the success of traditional chemotherapy has been shown to come from immunogenic effects in addition to direct cytotoxicity. The drug combination FOLFOX (5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin and leucovorin) which is in wide clinical use for colorectal adenocarcinoma, affects both natural killer (NK) cells—via oxaliplatin—and MDSCs—via 5-fluorouracil. A model consisting of 17 coupled ordinary differential equations was developed that captures the complex interplay between the immune system, therapy, and tumor. All parameters are estimated from experimental data. The model shows that the main components contributing to FOLFOX’s success are the immune effects of 5-fluorucil and direct cytotoxicity. With this model, it was possible to replicate typical FOLFOX treatment in combination with surgery and match experimental survival data. Patients undergoing this treatment were predicted live 1 year longer than without treatment for fast growing tumors and 5 years for slow growing ones.

(Bagels and refreshments will be served.)

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