The ets-1 transcription factor plays an important role in cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and tissue remodeling. Aberrant ets-1 expression correlates with aggressive tumor behavior and poorer prognosis in patients with various malignancies. This study evaluated the efficacy of double-stranded decoy oligonucleotides targeting ets-1-binding cis elements for the suppression of ets-1 in treatment of a peritoneal dissemination model of gastric cancer. In vitro, MTT assay was performed to evaluate the effect of the ets-1 decoy on cell growth. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) was performed to determine ets-1 activity. In vivo, the effect of the ets-1 decoy was investigated in the peritoneal dissemination nude mice model. Disseminated nodules were analyzed immunohistochemically. Ets-1 decoy, but not scrambled decoy, significantly inhibited cell growth in 2 gastric cancer cell lines, which showed overexpression of ets-1 protein by inhibiting the binding activity of ets-1. In the peritoneal dissemination model, the ets-1 decoy significantly suppressed the disseminated nodules, and tended to prolong the survival rate. PCNA index, microvessel density and VEGF expression were also reduced in peritoneal tumors treated with ets-1 decoy. Intraperitoneal injection of ets-1 decoy inhibited peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer in a nude mice model. The results indicate that the decoy strategy for ets-1 offers a promising therapy for patients with incurable peritoneal dissemination of gastric cancer, most of which show overexpression of ets-1 protein. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.