GI Blog

Understanding the Link Between Helicobacter pylori and Gastric Cancer

28 March 2024

In recent years, gastric cancer has become a significant health concern worldwide, particularly in China, where half of the world's new cases are reported. One of the key factors contributing to this alarming statistic is the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection among the Chinese population. According to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), over 50% of Chinese individuals are infected with H. pylori, totaling more than 700 million people. What exactly is H. pylori, and how does it relate to gastric cancer?


H. pylori is a type of gram-negative bacterium that has been coexisting with humans for at least 50,000 years, likely accompanying our evolutionary journey. This bacterium resides in the gastric mucosa, with some adhering to the mucosal surface and a small fraction possibly invading cells or penetrating the gastric mucosa. Its helical shape and flagella enable it to move within the mucous layer, while its multiple mechanisms of acid resistance allow it to survive in the acidic environment of the stomach.


Studies have shown a clear association between H. pylori infection and the development of gastric cancer. In fact, H. pylori was classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the WHO back in 1994. But what makes this bacterium so concerning in terms of gastric cancer risk?


Recent research published in prestigious medical journals such as Gastroenterology and The New England Journal of Medicine sheds light on the impact of H. pylori eradication therapy on gastric cancer risk reduction. Long-term studies have indicated that eradicating H. pylori may offer significant protection against gastric cancer, particularly in high-risk populations.


Moreover, experts recommend including H. pylori detection as part of gastric cancer screening protocols. Methods such as serum H. pylori antibody testing and urea breath tests (UBT) are commonly utilized for this purpose. Early detection and treatment of H. pylori infection not only reduce the risk of gastric cancer but also prevent other H. pylori-related conditions such as gastric ulcers and atrophic gastritis from progressing to more serious stages.


Fortunately, effective treatments for H. pylori infection are available, typically involving a course of medication administered by gastroenterologists. Moreover, advancements in medical technology have introduced innovative approaches to gastrointestinal health management, such as the digestive system diagnostics-OMOM Robotic Capsule Endoscopy System provided by companies JINSHAN.


In conclusion, understanding the relationship between H. pylori infection and gastric cancer is crucial for effective prevention and management strategies. By addressing H. pylori infection through screening and eradication therapy, we can significantly reduce the burden of gastric cancer and improve overall digestive health outcom