Objectives: Helicobacter pylori is a carcinogen; gastric carcinoma involves a multistep process from chronic gastritis to atrophy, intestinal metaplasia, and dysplasia. The aims of this study were to determine the types of mucosa at different gastric sites in H. pylori-infected and uninfected patients, and whether the presence of antral-type mucosa in the incisura, body, and fundus is associated with gastric atrophy and intestinal metaplasia.
Methods: Two hundred and sixty-eight patients with dyspepsia were enrolled. Eight biopsies (i.e., antrum x3, body x2, fundus x2, and incisura x1) were obtained. One antral biopsy was used for the CLO-test. Three (each from the antrum, body, and fundus) were cultured. The remaining biopsies were examined histologically according to the updated Sydney System after staining with hematoxylin and eosin and Giemsa. A validated serological test was also applied.
Results: Overall, 113 (42%) patients were infected with H. pylori. At the incisura, antral-type mucosa was more prevalent in infected than in uninfected patients (84% vs. 18%; odds ratio [OR] = 23.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 12.5-45.8; p<0.001). Atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia at the incisura was present in 19.5% and 13.3%, respectively, of infected, and 4.5% and 3.2%, respectively, of uninfected patients (both p<0.01). Moreover, atrophic gastritis at the incisura was associated with the presence of antral-type mucosa at the site (termed antralization); the prevalence of atrophic gastritis was 19.5% (24/123) in the presence of antralization, whereas the rate was 2.1% (3/145) without antralization (OR = 11.4, 95% CI 3.4-39.2; p<0.001). Similarly, at the incisura, 16.3% (20/123) of "antralized" cases and 1.4% (2/145) of "unantralized" cases had intestinal metaplasia (OR = 13.8, 95% CI, 3.2-60.7; p<0.001). The association between antralization at gastric body and fundus also appeared to be associated with atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia at these sites.
Conclusions: Atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia occurs predominantly at the gastric antrum and incisura with H. pylori infection. Antralization of the gastric incisura is a common event in H. pylori-infected patients, and appears to be associated with an increased risk of atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia.