Relationship between Helicobacter pylori CagA status and colorectal cancer

Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Dec;96(12):3406-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2001.05342.x.


Objectives: Infection with Helicobacter pylori, particularly with strains positive for CagA protein, increases the risk of gastric adenocarcinoma. Few studies have explored the possible association between H. pylori infection and colorectal cancer. This study evaluated whether the seroprevalence of CagA in H. pylori-infected patients affected risk for colorectal cancer independently of H. pylori status.

Methods: In this study, we tested serum IgG antibodies against H. pylori (ELISA) and CagA protein (Western blot assay) in 67 patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma, 36 with gastric adenocarcinoma, 47 with other malignancies (cancer controls), and 45 hospitalized for transesophageal echocardiography (TEE controls). Colonic cancer and gastric cancer patients with H. pylori infection were compared to each control group and to the pooled controls using simple and adjusted analyses.

Results: H. pylori infection was noted in 50 colon cancer patients, 31 gastric cancer patients, 31 cancer controls, and 32 TEE controls. In all, 41 (82%), 29 (94%), 11 (35%), and 13 (41%), respectively, of these H. pylori-positive sera expressed CagA reactivity (p < 0.001 for all pairwise comparisons between cases and controls). In the adjusted analysis, infection with H. pylori CagA+ compared to H. pylori CagA- was associated with increased risk for colorectal adenocarcinoma (odds ratio = 10.6; 95% CI = 2.7-41.3; p = 0.001) and gastric adenocarcinoma (odds ratio = 88.1; 95% CI = 6.3-1229.2; p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Among patients infected with H. pylori, CagA+ seropositivity is associated with increased risk for both gastric and colonic cancer. This finding should stimulate additional research into the role of cagA+ H. pylori infection in the development of colorectal cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Antigens, Bacterial*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications*
  • Helicobacter Infections / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Stomach Neoplasms / immunology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • cagA protein, Helicobacter pylori