In the present study, the role of integrin alpha2/beta1 in peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer was investigated using an in vivo xenograft model for the highly metastatic MKN-45-P gastric cancer cells. Metastatic ability of MKN-45-P cells was significantly associated with the simultaneous expression of integrin alpha2 and alpha3 subunits. In an in vitro adhesion assay, neutralizing antibody for integrin alpha2 or beta1 subunit inhibited the adhesion of MKN-45-P cells to collagen type I and type IV. Moreover, the injection of anti-beta1 monoclonal antibody reduced the number of cancer cells on the peritoneum in nude mice that had been inoculated with MKN-45-P cells. These results suggest that integrin alpha2/beta1 represents a candidate target molecule available for the prevention of gastric cancer peritoneal dissemination.