Objectives: An abundance of data exists documenting the association of H. pylori eradication with the reduction in duodenal ulcer recurrence.
Aim: To evaluate the validity of using H. pylori eradication as a surrogate marker for the reduction in duodenal ulcer recurrence using rigorously controlled studies.
Methods: Three controlled clinical trials were conducted in patients with uncomplicated, active duodenal ulcers. Patients were treated with various combinations of omeprazole and amoxycillin. Ulcer healing and H. pylori eradication were assessed. For patients whose duodenal ulcer healed, duodenal ulcer recurrence was determined over a 6-month period in patients with H. pylori eradication and those remaining positive for H. pylori at least 4 weeks after treatment. To support the data obtained from these clinical trials, a search of the medical literature was conducted to identify additional human clinical trials in which duodenal ulcer recurrence rates were measured and categorized by H. pylori status at least 1 month post-treatment.
Results: In 11 controlled trials, the overall 6-18-month duodenal ulcer recurrence rate was 54% among patients remaining positive for H. pylori at least 4 weeks after treatment compared to 6% among patients with H. pylori eradication following treatment. This finding was corroborated by the uncontrolled trials, in which the duodenal ulcer recurrence rate was 64% among patients found to be H. pylori-positive and 6% for patients found to be H. pylori-negative at least 4 weeks after treatment. A time course of duodenal ulcer recurrence rates using pooled data from both controlled and uncontrolled studies demonstrated that duodenal ulcer recurrence rates for H. pylori-negative patients persisted for up to 4 years following treatment. Duodenal ulcer recurrence rates for H. pylori-positive patients increased for the first year, then levelled off. A comparison of the duodenal ulcer recurrence rates for different treatment regimens revealed that eradication regimens based on omeprazole plus antibiotics and bismuth plus antibiotics exhibited similar duodenal ulcer recurrence rates for H. pylori-positive and -negative patients.
Conclusion: Regardless of treatment regimens, H. pylori eradication produced a consistent and significant reduction in duodenal ulcer recurrence. Therefore H. pylori eradication, 4 weeks post-therapy, can be used as a surrogate marker for reduced duodenal ulcer recurrence in investigational clinical trials.