Background & aims: Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric mucosa evolves through stages of chronic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia (IM), glandular atrophy (GA), and dysplasia before carcinoma develops. We studied if H. pylori eradication would alter the course of premalignant histologic changes in the stomach.
Methods: Volunteers from the Yantai County in China underwent upper endoscopy with biopsy specimens obtained from the antrum and corpus. H. pylori-infected subjects were randomized to receive either a 1-week course of omeprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin (OAC) or placebo. At 1 year, endoscopies with biopsies were repeated.
Results: A total of 587 H. pylori-infected subjects were randomized to OAC (n = 295) and placebo (n = 292). At 1 year, H. pylori was eradicated in 226 subjects assigned to OAC. In the placebo group, 245 patients remained H. pylori infected. Analysis of paired samples obtained from the same patients showed that acute and chronic gastritis decreased in both the antrum and corpus after H. pylori eradication (P<0.001) and activity of IM decreased in antrum (P = 0.014). In the H. pylori-infected group, antral biopsy specimens had more pronounced acute gastritis (P = 0.01), whereas corpus specimens showed increased acute and chronic gastritis (P<0.001) and a marginal increase in GA (P = 0.052). When histologic changes were compared between the 2 groups, decrease in acute and chronic gastritis was more frequent after H. pylori eradication (P<0.001) but changes in IM were similar. In the H. pylori-infected group, increase in GA was seen in the corpus (P = 0.01).
Conclusions: At 1 year, H. pylori eradication is beneficial in preventing progression of pathologic changes of the gastric mucosa.