Over the last few years, taking advantage of the linear growth of diameter kinetics, tumor diameter-based rather than tumor volume-based models have been developed for the phenomenological modeling of tumor growth. In this study, we propose a new tumor diameter growth function composed of two linear parts and one exponential term to characterize early, late and steady-state treatment effects. Model parameters consist of growth rates, growth delays and time constants and are meaningful for biologists. Biological experiments provide in vivo longitudinal data. The latter are analyzed using a mixed effects model based on the new diameter growth function, to take into account inter-mouse variability and treatment factors. The relevance of the tumor growth mixed model is firstly assessed by analyzing the effects of three therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment (radiotherapy, concomitant radiochemotherapy and photodynamic therapy) administered on mice. Then, effects of the radiochemotherapy treatment duration are estimated within the mixed model. The results highlight the model suitability for analyzing therapeutic efficiency, comparing treatment responses and optimizing, when used in combination with optimal experiment design, anti-cancer treatment modalities.
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