To identify novel methylation-silenced genes in gastric cancers, we carried out a chemical genomic screening, a genome-wide search for genes upregulated by treatment with a demethylating agent, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC). After 5-aza-dC treatment of a gastric cancer cell line (AGS) 579 genes were upregulated 16-fold or more, using an oligonucleotide microarray with 39,000 genes. From these genes, we selected 44 known genes on autosomes whose silencing in gastric cancer has not been reported. Thirty-two of these had CpG islands (CGI) in their putative promoter regions, and all of the CGI were methylated in AGS, giving an estimated number of 421+/-75 (95% confidence interval) methylation-silenced genes. Additionally, we analyzed the methylation status of 16 potential tumor-related genes with promoter CGI that were upregulated four-fold or more, and 14 of these were methylated in AGS. Methylation status of the 32 randomly selected and 16 potential tumor-related genes was analyzed in 10 primary gastric cancers, and 42 genes (ABHD9, ADFP, ALDH1A3, ANXA5, AREG, BDNF, BMP7, CAV1, CDH2, CLDN3, CTSL, EEF1A2, F2R, FADS1, FSD1, FST, FYN, GPR54, GREM1, IGFBP3, IGFBP7, IRS2, KISS1, MARK1, MLF1, MSX1, MTSS1, NT5E, PAX6, PLAGL1, PLAU, PPIC, RBP4, RORA, SCRN1, TBX3, TFAP2C, TNFSF9, ULBP2, WIF1, ZNF177 and ZNF559) were methylated in at least one primary gastric cancer. A metastasis suppressor gene, MTSS1, was located in a genomic region with frequent loss of heterozygosity (8q22), and was expressed abundantly in the normal gastric mucosa, suggesting its role in gastric carcinogenesis. (Cancer Sci 2006; 97: 64 -71).