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Bacteria Increase Risk Of Stomach Cancer
Infection with H. pylori, which is known to cause ulcers, has also been linked to certain types of gastric cancer, but the strength of association varies with where the cancer is located in the stomach. Two types of gastric cancer usually exist -- cardia, or cancer of the upper stomach joining the esophagus; and noncardia, or cancer of the lower stomach.
A group of scientists led by Farin Kamangar, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., selected 234 cardia and noncardia gastric cancer patients in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study and matched them to controls. They assessed all of the subjects for H. pylori infection by testing their blood for antibodies that indicate previous infection.
The authors observed that the subjects infected with H. pylori had a higher risk of developing noncardia gastric cancer and a lower risk of developing cardia gastric cancer. They suggest that a decrease in H. pylori infections during the past century may be one reason that researchers have observed increasing rates of cardia and decreasing rates of noncardia gastric cancers in Western countries.
"The results of this study suggest that caution may be warranted against mass therapy to eradicate H. pylori ," the authors write.
In an accompanying editorial, Olof Nyren, M.D., Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and William J. Blot, Ph.D., of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., write, "It seems prudent to include the putative protective effect of H. pylori against adenocarcinoma of the esophagus or cardia in the equation when drawing up prevention plans for gastric cancer".
Posted by: Beverly Source