Background: Treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis arising from gastric cancer remains a considerable challenge. In recent years, the anticancer effect of nonequilibrium atmospheric pressure plasma (NEAPP) has been reported in several cancer cell lines. Use of NEAPP may develop into a new class of anticancer therapy that augments surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Method: Gastric cancer cells were assessed for changes in cell morphology and rate of proliferation after treatment with NEAPP-exposed medium (PAM). To explore the functional mechanism, caspase 3/7, annexin V, and uptake of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were evaluated, along with the effect of the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Results: PAM treatment for 24 h affected cell morphology, suggestive of induction of apoptosis. PAM cytotoxicity was influenced by the time of exposure to PAM, the type of cell line, and the number of cells seeded. Cells treated with PAM for 2 h demonstrated activated caspase 3/7 and an increased proportion of annexin V-positive cells compared with untreated cells. Additionally, ROS uptake was observed in PAM-treated cells, whereas NAC reduced the cytotoxicity induced by PAM presumably through reduction of ROS uptake. Furthermore, CD44 variant 9, which reportedly leads to glutathione synthesis and suppresses stress signaling of ROS, was overexpressed in PAM-resistant cells. Conclusions: PAM treatment induced apoptosis of gastric cancer cells through generation and uptake of ROS. Local administration of PAM could develop into an option to treat peritoneal carcinomatosis.
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