Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection is the most important risk factor for gastric cancer (GC) development through the Correa's gastric carcinogenesis cascade. However, H. pylori eradication alone does not eliminate GC, as pre-neoplastic lesions (atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia and dysplasia) may have already developed in some patients. It is therefore necessary to identify patients at high-risk for gastric cancer after H. pylori eradication to streamline the management plan. If the patients have not undergone endoscopy with histologic assessment, the identification of certain clinical risk factors and non-invasive testing (serum pepsinogen) can predict the risk of atrophic gastritis. For those with suspected atrophic gastritis, further risk stratification by endoscopy with histologic assessment according to validated histologic staging systems would be advisable. Patients with higher stages may require long-term endoscopic surveillance. Apart from secondary prevention to reduce deaths by diagnosing GC at an early stage, identifying medications that could potentially modify the GC risk would be desirable. The potential roles of a number of medications have been suggested by various studies, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), aspirin, statins and metformin. However, there are currently no randomized clinical trials to address the impact of these medications on GC risk after H. pylori eradication. In addition, most of these studies failed to adjust for the effect of concurrent medications on GC risk. Recently, large population-based retrospective cohort studies have shown that PPIs were associated with an increased GC risk after H. pylori eradication, while aspirin was associated with a lower risk. The roles of other agents in reducing GC risk after H. pylori eradication remain to be determined.
Keywords: Chemoprevention; Gastric adenocarcinoma; Helicobacter pylori; Intestinal metaplasia; Stomach cancer.