Objective: To compare the upper gastrointestinal disease profiles of Helicobacter pylori-infected patients drawn from two distinct regions of China, one with a low incidence of gastric cancer (Guangzhou) and the other with a high incidence of gastric cancer (Lanzhou). The age-standardized prevalence of H. pylori within the populations of these two cities was similar (approximately 56%). In these patient groups, the prevalence of different gastrointestinal disease states and the occurrence and severity of gastritis, gastric atrophy, and intestinal metaplasia were compared.
Methods: This study was based on consecutive patients: 265 from Guangzhou and 275 from Lanzhou. The grading of gastritis and the detection of H. pylori was determined by histology using the "Sydney System".
Results: The ratio of cases of duodenal to gastric ulceration for the two cities was: Guangzhou 14:1 and Lanzhou 3:1. Gastric cancer was more prevalent in the patients from Lanzhou (9.8%) than from Guangzhou (3%). In nonulcer dyspepsia patients from Guangzhou, gastritis was predominantly antral, whereas, in Lanzhou, gastritis was predominantly uniform. The amount and severity of atrophy was significantly greater in Lanzhou compared with Guangzhou.
Conclusions: The prevalence of atrophy, rather than age of acquisition and prevalence of H. pylori infection, appears to be a marker of the major upper gastrointestinal disease profiles of a region. Development of atrophy, although apparently related to H. pylori infection, may be a multifactorial condition. Differences in diet, as seen between Guangzhou and Lanzhou, may be important in this regard. Understanding the factors leading to the development of atrophy may enhance our understanding of processes leading to gastric malignancy.