OBJECTIVE : This work aimed to develop a population PK/PD tumor-in-host model able to describe etoposide effects on both tumor cells and host in Walker-256 tumor-bearing rats. METHODS : Etoposide was investigated on thirty-eight Wistar rats randomized in five arms: two groups of tumor-free animals receiving either placebo or etoposide (10 mg/kg bolus for 4 days) and three groups of tumor-bearing animals receiving either placebo or etoposide (5 or 10 mg/kg bolus for 8 or 4 days, respectively). To analyze experimental data, a tumor-in-host growth inhibition (TGI) model, based on the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory, was developed. Total plasma and free-interstitial tumor etoposide concentrations were assessed as driver of tumor kinetics. RESULTS : The model simultaneously describes tumor and host growths, etoposide antitumor effect as well as cachexia phenomena related to both the tumor and the drug treatment. The schedule-dependent inhibitory effect of etoposide is also well captured when the intratumoral drug concentration is considered as the driver of the tumor kinetics. CONCLUSIONS : The DEB-based TGI model capabilities, up to now assessed only in mice, are fully confirmed in this study involving rats. Results suggest that well designed experiments combined with a mechanistic modeling approach could be extremely useful to understand drug effects and to describe all the dynamics characterizing in vivo tumor growth studies.