Objectives: Gastric intestinal metaplasia (GIM) associated with H. pylori (HP) has been considered a premalignant lesion. However, GIM phenotype associated with HP infection and gastric cancer is unclear. The expression of COX-2 in relation to GIM phenotype is also unknown.
Methods: We evaluated cellular phenotype and COX-2 expression in the GIM from HP-positive and -negative patients from Japan in the absence of gastric cancer (n = 31) by using a colon epithelium specific monoclonal antibody (mAb Das-1) and anti-COX-2 antibody. COX-2 expression was also examined in patients with gastric cancer (n = 34), both in the cancer and in the GIM areas away from the cancer field.
Results: Sixty-eight percent of HP-positive GIM reacted with mAb Das-1, whereas the reactivity in the HP-negative GIM was only 25% (P < 0.001). The COX-2 expression was present in 32% of HP-positive GIM and in only 9% of HP-negative GIM (P < 0.001). In the cancer group, COX-2 expression was localized both in the cancer area (94%) and in the GIM (82%) away from the cancer. Each of the COX-2-positive tissue was also positive to mAb Das-1.
Conclusion: HP infection is highly associated with the development of colonic-phenotype of GIM, and about half of them expressed COX-2. COX-2 expression was frequent in both gastric cancer and the GIM adjacent to the cancer. The results suggest that the presence of mAb Das-1 and COX-2 reactivity in the GIM identify the subgroup of patients who may be at risk for gastric cancer and may need close surveillance.