Multifocal atrophic gastritis and gastric carcinoma

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2002 Jun;31(2):499-516. doi: 10.1016/s0889-8553(02)00008-0.


Gastric carcinoma remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide despite its significant decline in recent years. H. pylori infection begins with nonatrophic gastritis, and most individuals continue to have nonatrophic H. pylori gastritis throughout their lifetime. A minority of those with severe antral inflammation will develop a duodenal ulcer, and a few, for unknown reasons, may develop gastric MALT lymphoma. Others, who acquired the H. pylori infection in early childhood, develop progressive multifocal atrophic gastritis with loss of gastric glands. A small proportion of these individuals develop extensive, incomplete (type III) intestinal metaplasia, and an even smaller proportion will progress to dysplasia and intestinal-type gastric carcinoma. H. pylori-associated gastritis is also a risk factor for diffuse-type gastric carcinoma, which is not preceded by atrophy, intestinal metaplasia, or dysplasia. Appropriate screening and preventive measures should be considered in high-risk groups. It is also crucial to identify cofactors such as genetic susceptibility and environmental factors that might interact with H. pylori infection to increase gastric cancer risk. To make an impact on gastric cancer incidence and mortality, serious consideration should be given to early H. pylori eradication in high-risk groups and endoscopic surveillance according to the updated Sydney system in some patients with high-risk preneoplastic lesions, whereas dysplastic lesions should be removed without delay. Studies currently in progress may tell us whether H. pylori eradication can prevent later development of gastric carcinoma and thus eliminate a major cause of mortality worldwide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Gastritis, Atrophic / classification
  • Gastritis, Atrophic / epidemiology*
  • Gastritis, Atrophic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • United States / epidemiology