Special Issue "Networks in Cancer: From Symmetry Breaking to Targeted Therapy"

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Biology and Symmetry/Asymmetry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Cristian Axenie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Audi Konfuzius-Institut Ingolstadt Lab, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany
Interests: research interest in developing novel machine learning tools for biomechanics and biomedical engineering, with a focus on integrative mathematical and computational oncology
Dr. Roman Bauer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
Interests: Research focuses on the computational modeling and analysis of biological dynamics and the development of modern computing tools
Dr. María Rodríguez Martínez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IBM Research, Zurich Laboratory, Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: systems biology; cancer biology; networks; genomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Seen as a disease of the cell, cancer describes the symmetry breaking in a cell’s homeostasis and consequently its aberrant proliferation, differentiation, and death mechanisms. Beyond the cell, the tumor microenvironment describes the multi-variate phenotypic behavior of networks of cells and their interactions through different signaling pathways. Both cancer cells and host cells can display coupled phenotypic plasticity in response to these communicating signals. Such manifestations determine symmetry breaking in physical properties of their environment. This leads to complex spatiotemporal interaction patterns that impact therapeutic response that is aiming at restoring local symmetry and stability. Yet, driving the tumor-immune-host system to symmetric behavior under spatial and temporal constraints requires new analysis tools driving therapy. The emerging question about how to account for such spatiotemporal characteristics of these interaction networks, when analyzing cancer growth dynamics, is novel and largely unexplored by current standards. Mathematical and computational oncology can play an important role in extrapolating findings from in vitro experiments to in vivo conditions by means of in silico models. More precisely, such approaches allow for simulations of cancer therapies and can offer insights into their effects on the underlying symmetry breaking and symmetry preserving network-level interactions (e.g., tumor-immune interplay, gene regulatory networks, signal transduction networks, and proteolytic networks). Closing the loop, the captured insights can be used to make predictions about cancer progression and response to therapy on a patient-specific basis.

The aim of the present Special Issue is to gather the latest developments in mathematical and computational oncology tools for the mathematical modeling, analysis, and simulation of symmetry breaking and symmetry preserving network-level interactions used in therapy design.

We are soliciting contributions (research and review articles) covering a broad range of topics on Mathematical and Computational Oncology, including (though not limited to) the following:

  • Models and analysis of the symmetry breaking and symmetry preserving interplay between tumor and immune systems.
  • Models and analysis tools for symmetry breaking and symmetry preserving dynamics of signal transduction networks.
  • Models, analysis, and simulation of gene regulatory networks in cancer.
  • Models of proteolytic network interactions within cancer signaling pathways.
  • Finite element and continuum-based tools for modeling network interactions in cancer (e.g. tumor-immune, gene regulatory networks, etc.).
  • Agent-Based Modelling tools for symmetry breaking and symmetry preserving network interactions in cancer (e.g. tumor-immune, gene regulatory networks, etc.).
  • Machine Learning tools describing symmetry breaking and symmetry preserving spatiotemporal patterns of network interactions.
  • Hybrid modeling and simulation frameworks for cancer mechano-biology.

Dr. Cristian Axenie
Dr. Roman Bauer
Dr. María Rodríguez Martínez
Guest Editors

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. Symmetry is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1800 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.


  • Mathematical Oncology
  • Cancer
  • Networks
  • Immune System
  • Genetics
  • Mechano-biology
  • Machine Learning

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: The Multiple Dimensions of Networks in Cancer
Authors: Cristian Axenie, Roman Bauer, María Rodríguez Martínez
Affiliation: Audi Konfuzius-Institut Ingolstadt Lab, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Ingolstadt, Germany Department of Computer Science, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK IBM Research, Zurich Laboratory, Zurich, Switzerland

Title: Interrogating and quantifying in vitro cancer drug pharmacodynamics via agent-based modelling
Authors: Marios Demetriadis (University of Cyprus); Eleftherios Ioannou (University of Cyprus); Marko Živanović (University of Kragujevac); Biljana Ljujić (University of Kragujevac); Ksenija Vučićević (University of Kragujevac); Željko Ivošević (University of Kragujevac); Aleksandar Dagović (University of Kragujevac); Nevena Milivojević (University of Kragujevac); Myrianthi Hadjicharalambous (University of Cyprus); Roman Bauer* (Surrey University); Vasileios Vavourakis* (University of Cyprus, University College London) * joint senior authors
Affiliation: 1

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