Epidemiologic evidence strongly supports a causal role for Helicobacter pylori in gastric carcinogenesis. The infection was recognized as a Class I human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 1994. The bacterium does not induce carcinogenesis by itself. The present scientific consensus is that the bacterial oncogenic role is mediated by the chronic active inflammation it elicits in the gastric mucosa. Although the ultimate basic mechanism of carcinogenesis is unknown, strongly suggestive evidence points to oxidative stress as having a pivotal role in the process. This review discusses some of the evidence accumulated so far to support such a role. Numerous avenues of research are open and represent an intriguing challenge to the scientific community.