Association between Helicobacter pylori and Barrett's esophagus, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux symptoms

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Feb;12(2):239-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.08.029. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Background & aims: Infection with Helicobacter pylori, particularly the cytotoxin-associated gene A (cagA)+ strain, is believed to protect against Barrett's esophagus, but it is not clear if it protects against gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). We aimed to determine whether H pylori infection is associated with GERD symptoms, erosive esophagitis, and Barrett's esophagus within the same cohort.

Methods: We analyzed data from a case-control study of 533 men (ages, 50-79 y) who underwent colorectal cancer screening at 2 tertiary medical centers in Michigan between 2008 and 2011 and who also were recruited to undergo upper endoscopy. We assessed 80 additional men found to have Barrett's esophagus during clinically indicated upper-endoscopy examinations. Logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between serum antibodies against H pylori or cagA and GERD symptoms, esophagitis, and Barrett's esophagus, compared with randomly selected men undergoing colorectal cancer screens (n = 177).

Results: H pylori infection was associated inversely with Barrett's esophagus (odds ratio [OR], 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.29-0.97), particularly the cagA+ strain (OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.14-0.90). There was a trend toward an inverse association with erosive esophagitis (H pylori OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.37-1.08; and cagA+ OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.21-1.03). However, GERD symptoms were not associated with H pylori infection (OR, 0.948; 95% CI, 0.548-1.64; and cagA+ OR, 0.967; 95% CI, 0.461-2.03).

Conclusions: Based on a case-control study, infection with H pylori, particularly the cagA+ strain, is associated inversely with Barrett's esophagus. We observed a trend toward an inverse association with esophagitis, but not with GERD symptoms.

Keywords: AAVAMC; Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center; BE; Bacteria; CI; CRC; GERD; GERQ; Gastroesophageal Reflux Questionnaire; H2RA; IgG; Newly Diagnosed Barrett's Esophagus Study; OR; PPI; Stomach; cagA; colorectal cancer; confidence interval; cytotoxin-associated gene A; gastroesophageal reflux disease; histamine-2–receptor antagonist; immunoglobulin G; odds ratio; proton pump inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Barrett Esophagus / complications*
  • Barrett Esophagus / microbiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Esophagitis / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / microbiology
  • Helicobacter Infections / complications*
  • Helicobacter Infections / genetics
  • Helicobacter Infections / metabolism
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter pylori* / genetics
  • Helicobacter pylori* / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • cagA protein, Helicobacter pylori