Peptic ulcer disease and the risk of bladder cancer in a prospective study of male health professionals

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 Feb;13(2):250-4. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.epi-03-0174.


Helicobacter pylori is a risk factor for gastric and duodenal ulcers, but gastric ulcers generally occur in individuals who have low acid production and diffuse gastritis, whereas duodenal ulcers are more likely to occur with high acid output and antrum-predominant gastritis. Low acid production, gastritis, and ulcer healing each contribute to poor antioxidant absorption, oxidative stress, and elevated nitrite levels in the stomach. N-Nitrosamines are known carcinogens, and nitrate ingestion has been related to bladder cancer risk. Consequently, we hypothesized that the gastric conditions associated with gastric ulcers may contribute to elevated bladder cancer risk. We thus examined the association between self-reported history of peptic ulcer disease and the risk of bladder cancer (414 cases) over 14 years of follow-up in the Health Professional Follow-Up Study. Cox proportional hazards models were performed to adjust for known risk factors of bladder cancer. Men who reported a gastric ulcer before 1986 had a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer compared with those with no history of gastric ulcer (relative risk = 1.55, 95% confidence interval = 1.03-2.33, controlling for smoking and other potential confounders). No association was observed for duodenal ulcers (multivariate relative risk = 0.97, 95% confidence interval = 0.68-1.38). The ulcers in this study were based solely on self-report and not medical records; consequently, misclassification of ulcers may have occurred. Although intriguing, these findings need to be replicated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Duodenal Ulcer / complications
  • Duodenal Ulcer / etiology
  • Health Personnel*
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptic Ulcer / complications*
  • Peptic Ulcer / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology*