Background: Predicting factors for the outcome of conventional Helicobacter pylori triple therapy have been identified. Of these, the presence of the CagA gene is a strong predictor of successful treatment. Our preliminary data show that this factor becomes irrelevant when sequential therapy is used.
Aim: To identify predicting factors for the outcome of H. pylori eradication using two therapeutic schemes (triple and sequential) of equal duration (10 days).
Methods: Ninety-six patients with H. pylori infection were randomly assigned to receive one of the following therapeutic schemes: group A: rabeprazole (20 mg b.d.) plus amoxicillin (1 g b.d.) for 5 days, followed by rabeprazole (20 mg b.d.) plus tinidazole (500 mg b.d.) and clarithromycin (500 mg b.d.) for a further 5 days; group B: rabeprazole (20 mg b.d.) plus amoxicillin (1 g b.d.) and clarithromycin (500 mg b.d.) for 10 days. Age, sex, smoking, endoscopic and histological findings, and CagA and VacA status were considered as candidates for a model of multivariate analysis which used therapeutic outcome as the dependent variable. CagA and VacA status were assessed by polymerase chain reaction on DNA isolated from gastric antral specimens.
Results: The sequential scheme was significantly more effective than prolonged triple therapy (P < 0.05). Smoking (P < 0.001) and the absence of the CagA gene (P < 0.05) were significantly associated with the failure of triple therapy, but the effectiveness of sequential treatment was not predicted by these factors.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that sequential therapy is not affected by bacterial and host factors which have, until now, predicted the outcome of conventional eradication treatments.