Study of tumor growth indicates the existence of an “immunological threshold” separating states of pro- and antitumoral peritumoral inflammation

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Background Peritumoral inflammation—a response mainly involving polimorphonuclear neutrophils—has traditionally been thought protumoral in its effects. In recent years, however, a number of studies have indicated that it may play an important antitumoral role. This discrepancy has been difficult to explain. Methods and findings This work describes a tool for simulating tumor growth that obeys the universal model of tumor growth dynamics, and shows through its use that low intensity peritumoral inflammation exerts a protumoral effect, while high intensity inflammation exerts a potent antitumoral effect. Indeed, the simulation results obtained indicate that a sufficiently strong antitumoral effect can reverse tumor growth, as has been suggested several times in the clinical literature. Conclusions The present result indicate that an ‘immunological threshold’ must exist, marking the boundary between states in which peritumoral inflammation is either harmful or beneficial. These findings lend support to the idea that stimulating intense peritumoral inflammation could be used as a treatment against solid tumors.
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