Objective: to perform a retrospective review of the clinical characteristics and prevalence of H. pylori infection in patients with gastric MALT lymphoma diagnosed in our hospital during the last 15 years.
Methods: patients with gastric MALT lymphoma diagnosed in our hospital during the last 15 years were retrospectively included. Demographic, clinic, analytic, endoscopic, and histological variables were reviewed. The extension study, the staging classification, and the presence of H. pylori infection were assessed.
Results: thirty-seven patients with gastric MALT lymphoma were identified. Mean age was 61 years, with 62% of males. The most common presentation symptom was dyspepsia (76%), followed by digestive bleeding (11%) and constitutional syndrome (8%). At endoscopy, erosive lesions were identified in 41%, and proliferative or exophytic lesions in 43%. Most lymphomas were classified as low-grade (68%). The stage distribution was EI for 56%, EII for 13%, EIII for 3%, and EIV for 28%. The prevalence of H. pylori infection (histology in all cases, rapid urease test in 19%, and 13C-urea breath test in 24%) was 46%. When only low-grade lymphomas in stage EI were considered, H. pylori prevalence increased to 55%. When H. pylori infection was evaluated by 13C-urea breath testing (in addition to histology), the prevalence of H. pylori infection increased to 78%.
Conclusions: it is probable that the reduced H. pylori prevalence found in some studies, as in ours, could be explained by false-negative results obtained when only one diagnostic method was used. Therefore, at least two (invasive) diagnostic methods should be performed. Furthermore, the performance of a non-invasive diagnostic method (such as a 13C-urea breath test) before the exclusion of H. pylori infection should be considered.