NOV 16, 2019 6:39 AM PST

Understanding H. pylori and gastric cancer

New research published in the journal Gastroenterology offers insight on gastric cancer and the presence of the common bacteria known as H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori). Although previous studies have investigated the impacts that H. pylori have on the gut, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania now confirm that eliminating H. pylori from the gastrointestinal tract can cut the risk of gastric cancer by 75% in the US.

The study was conducted by lead author Shria Kumar, MD, and fellow researchers. Kumar commented, "The problem was that all research out of the U.S. used to study gastric cancer and determine American's risk of developing it did not take into account H. pylori infection, and studies worldwide have shown this infection is actually the leading risk factor for this type of cancer.”

The research team analyzed data from 400,000 patients to conclude that the link between the incidence of gastric cancer and H. pylori is stronger in certain populations – for instance, African American, Asian, Hispanic and Latinx, American Indian and Inuit American populations. They also saw an increased risk of H. pylori and consequential gastric cancer in men, smokers, and older individuals. This finding suggests that certain populations would benefit from increased monitoring for the bacteria.

"Discovering that these particular racial and ethnic groups are more likely to develop cancer after detection of this bacteria could influence clinicians' future screening practices and hopefully lead to early detection and management of gastric cancer," explained Kumar.

Detecting H. pylori can be tedious, involving multiple detection methods. Photo: Suburban Gastroenterology

Detecting and treating H. pylori is tedious and involves an endoscopic procedure, breath test, or stool sample. Many times, treatment procedures are not successful in fully eliminating the bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract, making follow-up care crucial. Yet, while an estimated 50% of the world’s population “suffers” from H. pylori, the bacteria are tricky because many may not suffer from symptoms at all, and thus likely unaware of its presence.

"According to estimates, there will be 27,000 new cases of gastric cancer in the U.S. this year, which is small compared to the prevalence of colorectal cancer -- for which there are an estimated 101,000 new cases for 2019," said Kumar. "It's not feasible or necessary to screen everyone for H. pylori or gastric cancer, but our study suggests that certain people may have high enough compounding risk to warrant regular invasive screenings and anyone treated for an H. pylori infection should be assessed to ensure eradication of the bacteria." The authors are quick to assure that even for those in the US that have contracted H. pylori, most do not develop gastric cancer.

Sources: Gastroenterology, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
MAR 12, 2021
Cancer
Toxic molecules in flame retardants increase breast cancer risk
MAR 12, 2021
Toxic molecules in flame retardants increase breast cancer risk
New research reported in the February issue of the journal Toxicological Sciences suggests that brominated flame re ...
MAR 22, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Improving Cancer Immunotherapy While Reducing Autoimmune Side Effects
MAR 22, 2021
Improving Cancer Immunotherapy While Reducing Autoimmune Side Effects
Immunotherapy aims to make a patient's immune cells better at fighting cancer. The immune system has to be used carefull ...
APR 29, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Cancer Cell Fate Influenced by Dietary Amino Acid
APR 29, 2021
Cancer Cell Fate Influenced by Dietary Amino Acid
This work could one day open up dietary therapeutic options for cancer.
JUN 07, 2021
Health & Medicine
Higher Incidence of Breast Cancer in Polluted Urban Areas
JUN 07, 2021
Higher Incidence of Breast Cancer in Polluted Urban Areas
A Taiwanese study looked at the incidence of breast cancer in areas of Taiwan with varying levels of air pollutants. Air ...
JUN 07, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Overcoming Challenges to Detect Apoptosis in 3D Cell Structures
JUN 07, 2021
Overcoming Challenges to Detect Apoptosis in 3D Cell Structures
Researchers are increasingly relying on cells grown in three-dimensional (3D) structures to help answer their research q ...
JUN 16, 2021
Cancer
New drug attacks pancreatic tumors with mutant KRAS addiction
JUN 16, 2021
New drug attacks pancreatic tumors with mutant KRAS addiction
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to detect in early stages, which is why it is associated with a low survival ...
Loading Comments...