An apparent lack of association between Helicobacter pylori infection and risk of gastric cancer in China

Int J Cancer. 1996 Sep 4;67(5):603-7. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0215(19960904)67:5<603::AID-IJC2>3.0.CO;2-Y.


Several prospective studies have shown a significant association between Helicobacter pylori seropositivity and the risk of gastric cancer. Only a small proportion of H. pylori-infected individuals will, however, develop gastric cancer, and it is unclear what effects other factors, such as diet, might have on the risk of cancer. Eighty-seven subjects with gastric cancer were identified during the first 6 years of follow-up (mean 2.4 years) of a cohort of middle-aged men from Shanghai, China. They were matched with 261 cancer-free controls, and serum samples from all subjects, obtained at recruitment, were assayed for anti-H. pylori IgG antibodies. Questionnaire data provided information on a wide range of socio-demographic life-style and dietary variables. H. pylori seropositivity rates in the cases and controls were 54% and 56%, respectively. Neither the overall risk of developing gastric cancer nor the risk of developing non-cardia gastric cancer was significantly associated with prior M. pylori seropositivity. Adjustment for any of the other medical, dietary or life-style variables studied had little effect on the risk of developing non-cardia gastric cancer; simultaneous adjustment for all of these factors yielded an odds ratio of 1.17. The results do not support the hypothesis that H. pylori plays a role in the process of gastric carcinogenesis in China. It is possible that this is an artefact resulting from the relatively short follow-up period to date.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • China
  • Helicobacter Infections*
  • Helicobacter pylori*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptic Ulcer / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / microbiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G