Background: Helicobacter pylori has generated public health interest since its identification in 1983. Past studies have suggested that the bacterium plays a role in the pathogenesis of gastric cancer. More recent studies support the conclusion that the association of H. pylori with gastric cancer is causal. The purpose of this article is to review the available evidence supporting the association of H. pylori with gastric cancer. Methods: We performed a critical review of the relevant literature published in the English language on H, pylori and gastric cancer using MEDLINE, Index Medicus for the years 1985 to 1997. The reference lists of selected articles also were reviewed to capture citations for further pertinent studies. Results: H. pylori is thought to be the major cause of chronic atrophic gastritis. H. pylori gastritis is worldwide in distribution. H. pylori is now categorized by the International Agency for Cancer Research as a group 1 carcinogen, i.e., an agent that is carcinogenic to humans. Several reports from the United States have found the highest frequencies of gastric cancer in geographic areas and populations with the highest rates of acquisition of H. pylori infection. The high prevalence of H. pylori infection has been documented most notably in blacks and Hispanics, who also are at high risk for gastric cancer. Conclusions: New studies that focus on the epidemiology and pathology of H. pylori improve our understanding of its relationship with gastric cancer and advance the development of gastric cancer prevention and control strategies that are proposed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health