Background: Long-term outcome of atrophic body gastritis has not yet been defined.
Aim: To investigate at long-term follow-up the behaviour of atrophy and intestinal metaplasia and the occurrence of neoplastic lesions in atrophic body gastritis patients.
Methods: Overall 106 atrophic body gastritis patients with > or = 4-year follow-up were studied; 38 were Helicobacter pylori-positive at histology + serology and cured of infection (group A), 36 were positive at serology and not treated (group B) and 32 were H. pylori-negative (group C). Patients underwent gastroscopy with antral (n = 3) and body (n = 3) biopsies for histology according to the Sydney System.
Results: At 6.7-year follow-up body atrophy and intestinal metaplasia remained unchanged in all 106 patients irrespective of H. pylori status. Antral atrophy was significantly increased at follow-up only in group C, whereas antral intestinal metaplasia was unchanged in all three groups. During follow-up eight (8%) patients developed neoplastic lesions (one adenocarcinoma, one adenoma with low-grade dysplasia and six low-grade dysplasia without endoscopic lesions). Antral atrophic gastritis was present at baseline in all but one (88%) of the eight patients with neoplastic lesions, but only in 15 (15%) of the 98 patients without (P < 0.0001, RR = 26.7).
Conclusions: Atrophy and intestinal metaplasia persist at 6.7-year follow-up and atrophic body gastritis patients with panatrophic gastritis are at increased risk of developing neoplastic lesions.