Special Issue "Game Theory and Cancer"

A special issue of Games (ISSN 2073-4336).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Marco Archetti Website E-Mail
School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Interests: applied game theory; evolutionary game theory; game theory of cancer; evolutionary biology
Guest Editor
Dr. David Basanta E-Mail
Integrated Mathematical Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer biology and game theory may seem like totally unrelated fields, and they have been, so far, largely unaware of each other. Cancer cells, however, compete with each other for space and nutrients, cooperate by secreting diffusible growth factors, signal to recruit adjacent stromal cells and are under selection to escape anti-cancer therapies. These, and other fundamental processes in cancer development, are cases of frequency-dependent selection among cells that can be analysed by evolutionary game theory. This Special Issue will provide a background of the emerging field of "Game Theory of Cancer", with the purpose of explaining the insights of game theory to cancer biologists, and to inspire game theorists to analyse problems in a new field.

Marco Archetti
Dr. David Basanta
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Games is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • evolutionary game theory

  • cancer

  • cell

  • selection

  • evolution

  • conflict

  • public goods

  • cooperation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Game Theory of Tumor–Stroma Interactions in Multiple Myeloma: Effect of Nonlinear Benefits
Games 2018, 9(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020032 - 28 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cancer cells and stromal cells often exchange growth factors with paracrine effects that promote cell growth: a form of cooperation that can be studied by evolutionary game theory. Previous models have assumed that interactions between cells are pairwise or that the benefit of [...] Read more.
Cancer cells and stromal cells often exchange growth factors with paracrine effects that promote cell growth: a form of cooperation that can be studied by evolutionary game theory. Previous models have assumed that interactions between cells are pairwise or that the benefit of a growth factor is a linear function of its concentration. Diffusible factors, however, affect multiple cells and generally have nonlinear effects, and these differences are known to have important consequences for evolutionary dynamics. Here, we study tumor–stroma paracrine signaling using a model with multiplayer collective interactions in which growth factors have nonlinear effects. We use multiple myeloma as an example, modelling interactions between malignant plasma cells, osteoblasts, and osteoclasts. Nonlinear benefits can lead to results not observed in linear models, including internal mixed stable equilibria and cyclical dynamics. Models with linear effects, therefore, do not lead to a meaningful characterization of the dynamics of tumor–stroma interactions. To understand the dynamics and the effect of therapies it is necessary to estimate the shape of the benefit functions experimentally and parametrize models based on these functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game Theory and Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Bifurcation Mechanism Design—From Optimal Flat Taxes to Better Cancer Treatments
Games 2018, 9(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020021 - 26 Apr 2018
Abstract
Small changes to the parameters of a system can lead to abrupt qualitative changes of its behavior, a phenomenon known as bifurcation. Such instabilities are typically considered problematic, however, we show that their power can be leveraged to design novel types of mechanisms. [...] Read more.
Small changes to the parameters of a system can lead to abrupt qualitative changes of its behavior, a phenomenon known as bifurcation. Such instabilities are typically considered problematic, however, we show that their power can be leveraged to design novel types of mechanisms. Hysteresis mechanisms use transient changes of system parameters to induce a permanent improvement to its performance via optimal equilibrium selection. Optimal control mechanisms induce convergence to states whose performance is better than even the best equilibrium. We apply these mechanisms in two different settings that illustrate the versatility of bifurcation mechanism design. In the first one we explore how introducing flat taxation could improve social welfare, despite decreasing agent “rationality,” by destabilizing inefficient equilibria. From there we move on to consider a well known game of tumor metabolism and use our approach to derive potential new cancer treatment strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game Theory and Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Fractionated Follow-Up Chemotherapy Delays the Onset of Resistance in Bone Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Games 2018, 9(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020019 - 23 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Prostate cancer to bone metastases are almost always lethal. This results from the ability of metastatic prostate cancer cells to co-opt bone remodeling, leading to what is known as the vicious cycle. Understanding how tumor cells can disrupt bone homeostasis through their [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer to bone metastases are almost always lethal. This results from the ability of metastatic prostate cancer cells to co-opt bone remodeling, leading to what is known as the vicious cycle. Understanding how tumor cells can disrupt bone homeostasis through their interactions with the stroma and how metastatic tumors respond to treatment is key to the development of new treatments for what remains an incurable disease. Here we describe an evolutionary game theoretical model of both the homeostatic bone remodeling and its co-option by prostate cancer metastases. This model extends past the evolutionary aspects typically considered in game theoretical models by also including ecological factors such as the physical microenvironment of the bone. Our model recapitulates the current paradigm of the “vicious cycle” driving tumor growth and sheds light on the interactions of heterogeneous tumor cells with the bone microenvironment and treatment response. Our results show that resistant populations naturally become dominant in the metastases under conventional cytotoxic treatment and that novel schedules could be used to better control the tumor and the associated bone disease compared to the current standard of care. Specifically, we introduce fractionated follow up therapy—chemotherapy where dosage is administered initially in one solid block followed by alternating smaller doses and holidays—and argue that it is better than either a continuous application or a periodic one. Furthermore, we also show that different regimens of chemotherapy can lead to different amounts of pathological bone that are known to correlate with poor quality of life for bone metastatic prostate cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game Theory and Cancer)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
How to Analyze Models of Nonlinear Public Goods
Games 2018, 9(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/g9020017 - 04 Apr 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Public goods games often assume that the effect of the public good is a linear function of the number of contributions. In many cases, however, especially in biology, public goods have nonlinear effects, and nonlinear games are known to have dynamics and equilibria [...] Read more.
Public goods games often assume that the effect of the public good is a linear function of the number of contributions. In many cases, however, especially in biology, public goods have nonlinear effects, and nonlinear games are known to have dynamics and equilibria that can differ dramatically from linear games. Here I explain how to analyze nonlinear public goods games using the properties of Bernstein polynomials, and how to approximate the equilibria. I use mainly examples from the evolutionary game theory of cancer, but the approach can be used for a wide range of nonlinear public goods games. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Game Theory and Cancer)
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