Development of a Model for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ Progression Using the Processing Visualization Software


  • Marissa Howard
  • Lance Liotta



Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of noninvasive breast cancer, constitutes about 20% of newly detected breast cancers. DCIS typically has a good prognosis, however, the possibility of it becoming invasive makes treatment important. Little research has been done on the progression of DCIS at a cellular level, which can be useful to inform us about how it develops. The objective of this project was to develop a visual simulation of the progression of DCIS using the language Processing. By modelling the probability of division, death, and mutation for each cell by taking into account factors such as location and crowding, we developed a preliminary model for DCIS on a micro level. Simulations were run with varied parameters such as oxygen, cell location, mutation rate, cell cycle, and proliferation, to model DCIS visually. Each simulation was an independent trial of another. We found a strong similarity to the morphology of pre-malignant lesions. Additionally, the model demonstrated that cell crowding affects cell proliferation rate. We envision that this model can be used to understand DCIS progression through virtual experimentation. Future simulations would include progression of DCIS to an invasive breast cancer and including additional simulation variables such as ER/PR hormone receptors, BRCA mutations, and morphologies of comedo carcinoma. In conclusion, we believe that virtual breast cancer modeling will be a valuable tool to improve biological understanding and improved treatments of breast cancer. 





College of Science: Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine