NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection may lead to a reduction in the risk of gastric cancer, according to Taiwanese and U.S. researchers.
As Dr. Ming-Shiang Wu told Reuters Health by email, "By synthesizing available evidence from diverse populations and clinical scenarios, our meta-analysis shows that H pylori eradication reduces gastric cancer risk in all risk groups."
In a January 30 online paper in Gastroenterology, Dr. Wu, of National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, and colleagues noted that they came to this conclusion after analyzing data from 24 studies involving more than 48,000 patients. Fourteen of the studies involved primary prevention of gastric cancer and the remainder covered tertiary prevention.
In all, there were 715 incident cancers over follow-up of more than 340,000 person-years. After adjustment for baseline gastric cancer incidence, eradication of H pylori infection led to a significantly lower gastric cancer incidence (pooled incidence rate ratio, 0.53).
Similarly, there was also a significant benefit in those with asymptomatic infection (pooled IRR 0.62) and in patients who had undergone endoscopic resection of gastric cancers (pooled IRR 0.46).
The benefit also "modestly increased" with age, possibly due to correlation between age and baseline gastric cancer incidence.
However, the benefits of H pylori eradication did not differ with study design, sex, or follow-up period, they said.
They speculate that eradication of H pylori "may result in resolution of gastric inflammation, halt the progression of gastric mucosal damage, prevent further H pylori-induced DNA damage, improve gastric acid secretion, and restore the microbiome toward normal."
These results, Dr. Wu concluded, "provide strong support for a mass eradication program to reduce the enormous disease burden of gastric cancer globally."
The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Research Program for Biopharmaceuticals supported this research. One coauthor reported relationships with pharmaceutical companies.