Background and aim: Gastric cancer is a major health burden in the Asia-Pacific region but consensus on prevention strategies has been lacking. We aimed to critically evaluate strategies for preventing gastric cancer.
Methods: A multidisciplinary group developed consensus statements using a Delphi approach. Relevant data were presented, and the quality of evidence, strength of recommendation, and level of consensus were graded.
Results: Helicobacter pylori infection is a necessary but not sufficient causal factor for non-cardia gastric adenocarcinoma. A high intake of salt is strongly associated with gastric cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables are protective but the use of vitamins and other dietary supplements does not prevent gastric cancer. Host-bacterial interaction in H. pylori infection results in different patterns of gastritis and differences in gastric acid secretion which determine disease outcome. A positive family history of gastric cancer is an important risk factor. Low serum pepsinogens reflect gastric atrophy and may be useful as a marker to identify populations at high risk for gastric cancer. H. pylori screening and treatment is a recommended gastric cancer risk reduction strategy in high-risk populations. H. pylori screening and treatment is most effective before atrophic gastritis has developed. It does not exclude the existing practice of gastric cancer surveillance in high-risk populations. In populations at low risk for gastric cancer, H. pylori screening is not recommended. First-line treatment of H. pylori infection should be in accordance with national treatment guidelines.
Conclusion: A strategy of H. pylori screening and eradication in high-risk populations will probably reduce gastric cancer incidence, and based on current evidence is recommended by consensus.