Helicobacter pylori infection: protection against Barrett's mucosa and neoplasia?

Digestion. 2000;62(4):225-31. doi: 10.1159/000007820.


Background: Since Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection provokes intestinal and gastric metaplasia, the question arises whether the specialized metaplasia (Barrett's mucosa (BM)) and dysplasia or carcinoma in Barrett's epithelium seen in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) might not also be correlated with Hp infection, or whether the latter offers protection against Barrett's oesophagus and Barrett's adenocarcinoma.

Patients: Gastric and oesophageal biopsies obtained from a total of 2,201 patients were analysed retrospectively. 297 of these patients had GORD (age 53.5 +/- 13.4 years; m:f ratio 2.1:1), 1,192 patients had BM (age 62.8 +/- 14.6 years; m:f 2.3:1) with or without neoplasia. 1,054 of these patients were diagnosed as having BM alone, 138 patients having BM neoplasia (high-grade dysplasia or adenocarcinoma). Patients with BM and low-grade dysplasia were excluded from this study because of the uncertainty in differentiating low-grade dysplasia from regenerative epithelium. A total of 712 patients with non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD; average age 40.0 +/- 16.1 years; m:f 0.3:1) served as a control group.

Results: The percentage of Hp infection did not differ between patients with GORD with (53.3%)/without BM (51.4%) and neoplasia (47.8%), but is statistically significantly lower than in patients with NUD (65.7%).

Conclusion: Our analysis shows that patients with GORD and Hp infection have no increased risk for the development of BM or neoplasia in BM. Since Hp infection is significantly less frequent in GORD than in NUD patients, a protective effect of the Hp infection is a possibility worth discussing.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / physiopathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / prevention & control*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Barrett Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Barrett Esophagus / prevention & control*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / physiopathology*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / prevention & control*