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Open Access Hypothesis

Physicochemical attack against solid tumors based on the reversal of direction of entropy flow: an attempt to introduce thermodynamics in anticancer therapy

Liaofu Luo1*, Joseph Molnar2, Hui Ding1, Xiaogui Lv1 and Gabriella Spengler2

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Theoretical Biophysics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot, China

2 Department of Medical Microbiology, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Medical Center, University of Szeged, Hungary

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Diagnostic Pathology 2006, 1:43  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-1-43

Published: 15 November 2006

Abstract

Background

There are many differences between healthy tissue and growing tumor tissue, including metabolic, structural and thermodynamic differences. Both structural and thermodynamic differences can be used to follow the entropy differences in cancerous and normal tissue. Entropy production is a bilinear form of the rates of irreversible processes and the corresponding "generalized forces". Entropy production due to various dissipation mechanisms based on temperature differences, chemical potential gradient, chemical affinity, viscous stress and exerted force is a promising tool for calculations relating to potential targets for tumor isolation and demarcation.

Methods

The relative importance of five forms of entropy production was assessed through mathematical estimation. Using our mathematical model we demonstrated that the rate of entropy production by a cancerous cell is always higher than that of a healthy cell apart from the case of the application of external energy. Different rates of entropy production by two kinds of cells influence the direction of entropy flow between the cells. Entropy flow from a cancerous cell to a healthy cell transfers information regarding the cancerous cell and propagates its invasive action to the healthy tissues. To change the direction of entropy flow, in addition to designing certain biochemical pathways to reduce the rate of entropy production by cancerous cells, we suggest supplying external energy to the tumor area, changing the relative rate of entropy production by the two kinds of cells and leading to a higher entropy accumulation in the surrounding normal cells than in the tumorous cells.

Conclusion

Through the use of mathematical models it was quantitatively demonstrated that when no external force field is applied, the rate of entropy production of cancerous cells is always higher than that of healthy cells. However, when the external energy of square wave electric pulses is applied to tissues, the rate of entropy production of normal cells may exceed that of cancerous cells. Consequently, the application of external energy to the body can reverse the direction of the entropy current. The harmful effect brought about by the entropy flow from cancerous to healthy tissue can be blocked by the reversed direction of entropy current from the irradiated normal tissue around the tumor.