Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Cancer

pp 3748-3752

Transcoelomic Metastasis

  • David S. P. TanAffiliated withSection of Medicine, Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden Hospital Email author 
  • , Stanley B. KayeAffiliated withDrug Development Unit, Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Marsden Hospital


Peritoneal metastasis/​dissemination; Transabdominal metastasis/​dissemination


Dissemination or spread of malignant tumor throughout the peritoneal (abdominal and pelvic) cavity.


Transcoelomic (meaning “across the peritoneal cavity”) metastasis refers to the dissemination of malignant tumors throughout the surfaces and organs of the abdominal and pelvic cavity covered by peritoneum. Transcoelomic metastasis can occur as a result of invasion into the peritoneal cavity by (1) a primary cancer arising from within the abdominal/pelvic cavity, e.g., ovarian cancer; (2) as a manifestation of systemic metastasis following haematogenous or lymphatic invasion by a primary cancer, e.g., advanced breast cancer; or (3) following intraperitoneal seeding during surgical manipulation, e.g., during surgical resection of a colorectal tumor.

The incidence of transcoelomic metastasis is higher with tumors that arise from the peritoneal cavity, ...

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