An Approach to the Primary and Secondary Prevention of Gastric Cancer in the United States

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Oct;20(10):2218-2228.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2021.09.039. Epub 2021 Oct 6.


Background & aims: Gastric cancer (GC) remains a leading cause of mortality among certain racial, ethnic, and immigrant groups in the United States (US). The majority of GCs are diagnosed at advanced stages, and overall survival remains poor. There exist no structured national strategies for GC prevention in the US.

Methods: On March 5-6, 2020 a summit of researchers, policy makers, public funders, and advocacy leaders was convened at Stanford University to address this critical healthcare disparity. After this summit, a writing group was formed to critically evaluate the effectiveness, potential benefits, and potential harms of methods of primary and secondary prevention through structured literature review. This article represents a consensus statement prepared by the writing group.

Results: The burden of GC is highly inequitably distributed in the US and disproportionately falls on Asian, African American, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaskan Native populations. In randomized controlled trials, strategies of Helicobacter pylori testing and treatment have been demonstrated to reduce GC-specific mortality. In well-conducted observational and ecologic studies, strategies of endoscopic screening have been associated with reduced GC-specific mortality. Notably however, all randomized controlled trial data (for primary prevention) and the majority of observational data (for secondary prevention) are derived from non-US sources.

Conclusions: There exist substantial, high-quality data supporting GC prevention derived from international studies. There is an urgent need for cancer prevention trials focused on high-risk immigrant and minority populations in the US. The authors offer recommendations on how strategies of primary and secondary prevention can be applied to the heterogeneous US population.

Keywords: Disparity; Gastric Intestinal Metaplasia; Helicobacter pylori; Screening.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Helicobacter Infections* / epidemiology
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • United States / epidemiology