A survey of optimization models on cancer chemotherapy treatment planning

Jinghua Shi, Oguzhan Alagoz*, Fatih Safa Erenay, Qiang Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


While chemotherapy is an effective method for treating cancers such as colorectal cancer, its effectiveness may be dampened by the drug resistance and it may have significant side effects due to the destruction of normal cells during the treatment. As a result, there is a need for research on choosing an optimal chemotherapy treatment plan that minimizes the number of cancerous cells while ensuring that the total toxicity is below an allowable limit. In this paper, we summarize the mathematical models applied to the optimal design of the cancer chemotherapy. We first elaborate on a typical optimization model and classify relevant literature with respect to modeling methods: Optimal control model (OCM) and others. We further classify the OCM models with respect to the solution method used. We discuss the limitations of the existing research and provide several directions for further research in optimizing chemotherapy treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-356
Number of pages26
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer chemotherapy plan
  • Markov decision processes (MDP)
  • Mathematical modeling in health care
  • Optimal control model (OCM)
  • Treatment optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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