Aim: To clarify the similarities and differences in gastric cancer epidemiology between Japan and China.
Methods: A comprehensive literature search of the PubMed database was performed. The relevant literature published in China was also been cited. Data on incidence and mortality rates in 2008 were obtained from the Cancer Mondial database, published by International Agency for Research on Cancer at http://www-dep.iarc.fr/.
Results: Gastric cancer remains a significant public health burden in both Japan and China. The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) colonization is high in the adult populations of both countries. Accumulating evidence from intervention studies in both countries has shown the effectiveness of H. pylori eradication in reducing gastric cancer incidence. There are differences, however, in many aspects of gastric cancer, including patterns of incidence and mortality, trends in the prevalence of H. pylori infection, H. pylori strains, the magnitude of risk of gastric cancer related to H. pylori infection, and associations with dietary habits. Compared with China, Japan has seen a more rapid decline in H. pylori infection among adolescents. While Japanese cohort studies have dominated the literature concerning the associations between gastric cancer and dietary habits, numerous case-control studies in China suggest a positive association between a high intake of preserved fish and vegetables and gastric cancer risk. There is a need for a multidisciplinary research approach to understand the interactions between various strains of H. pylori, host factors, and other lifestyle and environmental factors in gastric carcinogenesis in both countries.
Conclusion: The shared high incidence of gastric cancer and high prevalence of H. pylori, as well as differences in many aspects of gastric cancer, provide an excellent opportunity to establish Sino-Japanese collaborations.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; Risk factor.