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Clin Exp Metastasis. 2007;24(3):179-89. Epub 2007 May 9.

Comparative analysis of intraperitoneal minimal free cancer cells between colorectal and gastric cancer patients using quantitative RT-PCR: possible reason for rare peritoneal recurrence in colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Division of Oncological Pathology, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, 1-1 Kanokoden, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, 464-8681, Japan.


Peritoneal recurrence has a much lower incidence in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients than gastric cancer (GC) patients. The aim of this study is to clarify the reason for the rare peritoneal recurrence in CRC as compared with GC. The incidence and the abundance of free tumor cells in the peritoneal lavages from 102 CRC and 126 GC patients who underwent curative surgery were assessed by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) with carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and cytokeratin 20 (CK20) as genetic markers. Prognostic significance of CEA and CK20 mRNA was also compared between CRC and GC after 2 years of follow-up by Kaplan-Meyer method with overall and peritoneal recurrence-free survival as endpoints. Positivity rate and average values of CEA and CK20 mRNA in peritoneal lavages of CRC patients, which are correlated to the depth of tumor invasion (pT category), were essentially the same as those of GC cases. Overall survival was significantly (marginally) worse in CEA mRNA (CK20 mRNA)-positive CRC patients than negatives like GC. However, peritoneal recurrence-free survival was not different between CEA (CK20) mRNA-positive and -negative CRC patients, in quite contrast to GC cases. Multivariate analysis showed that CEA mRNA was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival in GC patients, but not in CRC patients. These results suggest that the rare peritoneal recurrence in CRC patients is not due to the low incidence or the small number of intraperitoneal free cancer cells, but more likely reflects due to the low-peritoneal metastatic potential of CRC cells.

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