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Computational models of migration modes improve our understanding of metastasis

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Tumor cells migrate through changing microenvironments of diseased and healthy tissue, making their migration particularly challenging to describe. To better understand this process, computational models have been developed for both the ameboid and mesenchymal modes of cell migration. Here, we review various approaches that have been used to account for the physical environment's effect on cell migration in computational models, with a focus on their application to understanding cancer metastasis and the related phenomenon of durotaxis. We then discuss how mesenchymal migration models typically simulate complex cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions, while ameboid migration models use a cell-focused approach that largely ignores ECM when not acting as a physical barrier. This approach greatly simplifies or ignores the mechanosensing ability of ameboid migrating cells and should be reevaluated in future models. We conclude by describing future model elements that have not been included to date but would enhance model accuracy.

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