Novel risk markers for gastric cancer screening: Present status and future prospects

World J Gastrointest Endosc. 2010 Dec 16;2(12):381-7. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v2.i12.381.


Initial identification of populations at high risk of gastric cancer (GC) is important for endoscopic screening of GC. As serum pepsinogen (PG) test-positive subjects with progression of chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG) show a high likelihood of future cancer development, this population warrants careful follow-up observation as a high-risk GC group. By combining the PG test with Helicobacter pylori (HP) antibody titers, the HP-related chronic gastritis stage can be classified, thus identifying not only a GC high-risk group but also a low-risk group. Among PG test-negative patients without CAG, those with high serum PG II levels and HP antibody titers are thought to have severe gastric mucosal inflammation and the risk of diffuse-type GC is also high. Meanwhile, in gastric mucosae obtained by endoscopic biopsy, HP infection induces aberrant DNA methylation in CpG islands in multiple gene regions and the extent of methylation clearly correlates with GC risk. By quantifying aberrant DNA methylation in suitable gene markers, we can determine the extent of the epigenetic field for cancerization. These novel concepts and risk markers will have many clinical applications in gastrointestinal endoscopy, including more efficient endoscopic GC screening and a strategic approach to metachronous multiple GCs after endoscopic treatment.

Keywords: DNA methylation; Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; Pepsinogen; Risk; Screening.