Stomach Ulcer Treatments May Reduce Risk of Gastric Cancer

By Sharon Smith
Wednesday, 22 July, 2015

Treatments for Helicobacter pylori bacterium— the main cause of stomach ulcers — may reduce the risk of gastric cancer, according to recent reseach published in the Cochrane Library. The studies were conducted in Colombia, China and Japan.

Stomach, or gastric, cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, and people who are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium are more likely to develop the disease.

The current treatment calls for a short course of antibiotics, often used with another medicine that suppresses the production of gastric acid.

To determine whether eliminating H. pylori might reduce the incidence of gastric cancer, researchers analysed all published randomized controlled trials comparing at least one week of H. pylori therapy, with placebo or no treatment, in otherwise healthy and asymptomatic H. pylori-positive adults. The review included only trials that followed participants for at least two years and that had at least two participants who developed gastric cancer.

“The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis add to the increasing evidence that eradicating H. pylori in the general population has the potential to prevent gastric cancer. International guidelines for the management of H. pylori infection may change as a result,” said co-author Paul Moayyedi, of McMaster University, in Canada.

The authors of the study wanted to note that more research needed to be conducted on the outcomes of this effect and on any potential harms of H. pylori treatment before it can be advocated as a means of preventing gastric cancer.

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