, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 197-204
Date: 25 Dec 2007

Genetic detection of free cancer cells in the peritoneal cavity of the patient with gastric cancer: present status and future perspectives


The purpose of this review is to examine the current status and future perspectives of the molecular analysis of peritoneal lavage fluid in patients with gastric cancer. During the past 10 years, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been applied for the molecular detection of free cancer cells in the abdominal cavity of patients with gastric cancer, and its clinical significance in establishing the presence of peritoneal dissemination has been assessed by several groups especially in Japan. The majority of these studies have confirmed the predictive value of the molecular detection of peritoneal metastasis and recurrence using peritoneal lavage fluid. Based on these findings, since April 2006, the genetic diagnosis of body fluids has been included in the Japanese Government public health insurance program for patients with solid tumors. However, there are still many obstacles to overcome before the genetic diagnosis of micrometastasis can be considered a routine laboratory assay. Here we review the importance of the molecular detection of cancer cells in the abdominal cavity, and the molecular techniques used for such diagnosis; we also provide some clinical examples to illustrate the value of molecular diagnosis.