In this paper, new and non-invasive imaging methods to assess interstitial fluid transport parameters in tumors in vivo are developed, analyzed and experimentally validated. These parameters include extracellular volume fraction (EVF), interstitial fluid volume fraction (IFVF) and interstitial hydraulic conductivity (IHC), and they are known to have a critical role in cancer progression and drug delivery effectiveness. EVF is defined as the volume of extracellular matrix per unit volume of the tumor, while IFVF refers to the volume of interstitial fluid per unit bulk volume of the tumor. There are currently no established imaging methods to assess interstitial fluid transport parameters in cancers in vivo. We develop and test new theoretical models and imaging techniques to assess fluid transport parameters in cancers using non-invasive ultrasound methods. EVF is estimated via the composite/mixture theory with the tumor being modeled as a biphasic (cellular phase and extracellular phase) composite material. IFVF is estimated by modeling the tumor as a biphasic poroelastic material with fully saturated solid phase. Finally, IHC is estimated from IFVF using the well-known Kozeny–Carman method inspired by soil mechanics theory. The proposed methods are tested using both controlled experiments and in vivo experiments on cancers. The controlled experiments were performed on tissue mimic polyacrylamide samples and validated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In vivo applicability of the proposed methods was demonstrated using a breast cancer model implanted in mice. Based on the controlled experimental validation, the proposed methods can estimate interstitial fluid transport parameters with an error below 10% with respect to benchmark SEM data. In vivo results demonstrate that EVF, IFVF and IHC increase in untreated tumors whereas these parameters are observed to decrease over time in treated tumors. The proposed non-invasive imaging methods may provide new and cost-effective diagnostic and prognostic tools to assess clinically relevant fluid transport parameters in cancers in vivo.
- Extracellular Fluid/diagnostic imaging
- Models, Biological
- Biological Transport
- Models, Theoretical
ASJC Scopus subject areas