Higher gastric mucin secretion and lower gastric acid output in first-degree relatives of gastric cancer patients

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan;42(1):36-41. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181574d39.


Background: Patients infected by Helicobacter pylori who have first-degree relatives with gastric cancer have an 8-fold increased risk of developing gastric cancer themselves. Mucins are high-molecular-weight glycoproteins that play a cardinal role in the protective mechanism of the gastric epithelium.

Aim: To study gastric acid and mucin secretion in dyspeptic patients with and without a family history of gastric cancer and H. pylori infection.

Materials and methods: Twenty-six dyspeptic patients underwent esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy, gastric biopsies, and acid and mucin secretory tests. The sample was divided by family history of gastric cancer and H. pylori status.

Results: Patients who were infected by H. pylori had a significantly higher degree of inflammation than those who were not. H. pylori-positive patients with a positive family history had a lower basal and maximal gastric acid output than infected patients with no family history and noninfected controls, and a higher basal and maximal mucin output than infected patients with no family history. MUC5AC was the major mucin species expressed in gastric juice.

Conclusions: In patients with relatives with gastric cancer, H. pylori infection is associated with a more severe inflammatory reaction consisting of decreased gastric acid secretion and increased mucin secretion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Achlorhydria / complications*
  • Achlorhydria / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Family Health*
  • Gastric Mucins / metabolism*
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications*
  • Helicobacter Infections / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology


  • Gastric Mucins