Background: Helicobacter pylori is recognized as one of the most significant risk factors for gastric cancer, and H. pylori eradication has been proposed as a possible primary chemo-preventive strategy to reduce gastric cancer incidence.
Aim: To evaluate the available evidence on the efficacy of H. pylori eradication in the prevention of gastric cancer.
Methods: Epidemiological, observational and interventional studies, as well as decisional models, were taken into account in this review.
Results: Large-scale epidemiological studies clearly link H. pylori infection with non-cardia gastric cancer. Current evidence suggests that, in a subpopulation of treated subjects, H. pylori eradication prevents the progression of preneoplastic lesions. Studies that have attempted to evaluate the effect of H. pylori eradication on the incidence of gastric cancer have not provided definitive answers. H. pylori eradication seems to reduce the incidence of gastric cancer in patients without baseline precancerous gastric lesions. Decisional models suggest that H. pylori screening could be cost-effective, but there is not yet sufficient evidence to support the setting up of a general screening programme.
Conclusion: Helicobacter pylori eradication is a plausible intervention for gastric cancer prevention; however, it seems to be relevant in only a subset of subjects.