Background: The H. pylori vacuolating cytotoxin encoded by vacA and the cytotoxin-associated protein encoded by cagA are considered to be important virulence determinants that have been implicated in the development of peptic ulcers and gastric carcinoma. However, conflicting results regarding the association between these virulence factors and clinical disease have been reported from different geographic regions.
Aims: To determine the frequency of vacA genotypes, vacuolating cytotoxin activity, and cagA in H. pylori isolates obtained from patients with gastric cancer in Germany.
Methods: H. pylori isolates were obtained from 34 patients with gastric cancer and from 35 subjects with asymptomatic H. pylori gastritis. vacA genotypes and cagA were identified by PCR. Cytotoxic activity was determined by HeLa cell assays. Gastritis was assessed according to the updated Sydney System.
Results: The H. pylori vacA s1,m1 genotype was significantly more frequent in patients with gastric cancer (24/34, 70.6%) as compared with controls (12/35, 34. 3%) (p = 0.005). Cytotoxic activity was detected in 24 (70.6%) and 15 (42.9%) H. pylori isolates from gastric cancer patients and controls, respectively (p = 0.03). The cagA gene was identified in 30 (88.2%) and 21 (60%) H. pylori isolates in the respective groups (p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Our study suggests a significant association between the H. pylori vacA s1,m1 genotype, cytotoxic activity, cagA, and gastric cancer. Detection of H. pylori possessing these virulence determinants may help to identify patients being at an increased risk to develop gastric cancer in our population.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.