Background: We previously reported that eradication of Helicobacter pylori could reduce the risk of developing gastric cancer in patients with peptic ulcer diseases. In the present study, we further followed up our patient groups to identify factors associated with the development of gastric cancer.
Methods: Prospective posteradication evaluations were conducted in 1342 consecutive patients (1191 men and 151 women; mean age, 50 years) with peptic ulcer disease who had received H. pylori eradication therapy. The patients had undergone endoscopic examination before eradication therapy to evaluate peptic ulcers, background gastric mucosa, and H. pylori infection. After confirmation of eradication, follow-up endoscopy was performed yearly.
Results: A total of 1131 patients were followed for up to 9.5 years (mean, 3.9 years). Gastric cancer developed in 9 of 953 patients cured of infection and in 4 of 178 who had persistent infection (P=0.04). The risk of developing gastric cancer after receiving H. pylori eradication therapy was increased according to the grade of baseline gastric mucosal atrophy (P=0.01). In patients with peptic ulcer diseases, persistent infection of H. pylori (hazard ratio, 3.9; P=0.03), the grade of baseline gastric mucosal atrophy (3.3, P=0.01) and age (2.0, P=0.04) were identified as significant risk factors for developing gastric cancer.
Conclusions: The grade of gastric atrophy was closely related to the development of gastric cancer after receiving H. pylori eradication therapy. Thus, eradication of H. pylori before the significant expansion of atrophy is most beneficial to prevent gastric cancer.