The team endoscoped a large number of the general Japanese population to investigate the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric cancer.
They reported their findings in the February issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.
Gastrointestinal endoscopy was performed and serum anti-H. pylori antibody was measured in 10,234 consecutive Japanese subjects (7021 men, mean age 49 years) who participated in a health examination program.
Gastric cancer, when suspected, was confirmed by histology.
H. pylori antibody titer was graded into 3 groups in accordance with optical density values by ELISA. These were "strongly positive", "weakly positive", and "negative".
|Proportion with gastric cancer:|
Strongly positive for H. pylori: 0.47%
Weakly positive: 0.51%
| Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology |
Among the subjects, 4909 (48%) were strongly positive, 1750 (17%) were weakly positive, and 3575 (35%) were negative for H. pylori antibody.
A total of 37 cases of gastric cancer were found (0.36%). Of these, 23 (0.47%) cases were in the strongly positive group, 9 (0.51%) were in the weakly positive group, and 5 (0.14%) were in the negative group.
Both the strongly and weakly positive groups showed a higher risk of gastric cancer than the negative group.
In the subjects over age 60, the weakly positive group seemed to show the highest risk for gastric cancer.
Dr Y. Yamaji, of the University of Tokyo, concluded on behalf of fellow colleagues, "In this investigation of 10,234 Japanese individuals, based on endoscopy results, those with serum H. pylori antibody had an increased risk for gastric cancer.
"Those who were 'weakly positive' for H. pylori antibodies showed a high risk, particularly in the elderly."