Purpose of review: This review focuses on new treatment options for eradicating Helicobacter pylori that have emerged as a result of decreased efficacy of standard triple therapy due to increasing antibiotic resistance. We also report on new data regarding primary and secondary gastric cancer prevention strategies and the potential role of H. pylori as a risk factor for extragastric malignancies.
Recent findings: Treatment options have shifted from triple to various quadruple modifications. The length of therapy duration has, in general, been extended from 7 to 10 and 14 days. Nonbismuth-based quadruple therapies prescribed as sequential, concomitant, and hybrid have shown superiority as compared to standard triple therapy in the eradication of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori. Bismuth-based quadruple therapy appears almost totally independent of antibiotic resistance and maintains high eradication rates. Levofloxacin is an adequate substitute for clarithromycin and is recommended in second-line regimens. However, it should be used prudently as H. pylori has developed resistance to levofloxacin in many regions of the world. Strategies for primary gastric cancer prevention by H. pylori eradication are effective, whereas H. pylori eradication for secondary gastric cancer prevention is uncertain. Very recent data implicate H. pylori as a risk factor for extragastric malignancies.
Summary: H. pylori therapy should be tailored according to local antibiotic resistance patterns. In many regions of the world, H. pylori is becoming increasingly resistant to clarithromycin, metronidazole, and levofloxacin. Gastric cancer prevention by H. pylori eradication is most effective, if implemented early in the course of infection. New data are provided which indicate H. pylori as risk factor for extragastric malignancies.