Dietary salt intake and risk of gastric cancer

Cancer Treat Res. 2014:159:83-95. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-38007-5_6.


Humans began to use large amounts of salt for the main purpose of food preservation approximately 5,000 years ago and, although since then advanced technologies have been developed allowing drastic reduction in the use of salt for food storage, excess dietary salt intake remains very common. Gastric cancer is a common neoplasia, and dietary factors, including salt consumption, are considered relevant to its causation. A number of experimental studies supported the cocarcinogenic effect of salt through synergic action with Helicobacter pylori infection, in addition to some independent effects such as increase in the rate of cell proliferation and of endogenous mutations. Many epidemiological studies analyzed the relationship between excess salt intake and risk of gastric cancer. Both cross-sectional and prospective studies indicated a possibly dose-dependent positive association. In particular, a comprehensive meta-analysis of longitudinal studies detected a strong adverse effect of total salt intake and salt-rich foods on the risk of gastric cancer in the general population. Altogether, the epidemiological, clinical, and experimental evidence supports the possibility of a substantial reduction in the rates of gastric cancer through progressive reduction in population salt intake.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / etiology*


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary