Peritoneal carcinomatosis: limits of diagnosis and the case for liquid biopsy

James R.W. McMullen, Matthew Selleck, Nathan R. Wall _ and Maheswari Senthil

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:43481-43490. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16480

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James R.W. McMullen1, Matthew Selleck2, Nathan R. Wall1 and Maheswari Senthil2

1 Department of Basic Sciences, Center for Health Disparities & Molecular Medicine, Division of Biochemistry, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, USA

2 Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA, USA

Correspondence to:

Nathan R. Wall, email:

Maheswari Senthil, email:

Keywords: peritoneal carcinomatosis, liquid biopsy, biomarker, exosomes

Received: January 21, 2017 Accepted: March 15, 2017 Published: March 22, 2017


Peritoneal Carcinomatosis (PC) is a late stage manifestation of several gastrointestinal malignancies including appendiceal, colorectal, and gastric cancer. In PC, tumors metastasize to and deposit on the peritoneal surface and often leave patients with only palliative treatment options. For colorectal PC, median survival is approximately five months, and palliative systemic therapy is able to extend this to approximately 12 months. However, cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS/HIPEC) with a curative intent is possible in some patients with limited tumor burden. In well-selected patients undergoing complete cytoreduction, median survival has been reported as high as 63 month. Identifying patients earlier who are either at risk for, or who have recently developed PC may provide them with additional treatment options such as CRS/HIPEC. PC is diagnosed late by imaging findings or often times during an invasive procedures such as laparoscopy or laparotomy. In order to improve the outcomes of PC patients, a minimally invasive, accurate, and specific PC screening method needs to be developed. By utilizing circulating PC biomarkers in the serum of patients, a “liquid biopsy,” may be able to be generated to allow a tailored treatment plan and early intervention. Exosomes, stable patient-derived nanovesicles present in blood, urine, and many other bodily fluids, show promise as a tool for the evaluation of labile biomarkers. If liquid biopsies can be perfected in PC, manifestations of this cancer may be more effectively treated, thus offering improved survival.

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