Gastric cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the world. It is now well- established that Helicobacter pylori infection predispose individuals toward gastric adenocarcinoma later in life. It has since been classified as a class I carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Research suggests that the oncogenic effects of Helicobacter pylori can occur through a variety of mechanisms, including the indirect inflammatory effects of Helicobacter pylori on the gastric mucosa and the direct epigenetic effects of Helicobacter pylori on individual cells. Whilst infected with Helicobacter pylori, a combination of environmental and host-dependent factors determines the likelihood of developing gastric cancer. Controversy remains regarding the effects of eradication of Helicobacter pylori on the prevention of further progression of gastric lesions and the possibility for regression of atrophic gastritis. The aim of this review is to synthesis different elements that contribute to the step-wise progression of normal gastric mucosa to gastric adenocarcinoma. This review helps clinicians to better identify those infected individuals who are at high risk of developing gastric cancer and implement the necessary investigations and treatment.
Keywords: Atrophic gastritis; Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; Pathogenesis; Virulence.