Helicobacter species have been found in human bile and biliary tract tissue.
These species are suspected to cause biliary tract diseases, including gallbladder and extrahepatic cancers, collectively referred to in this work as biliary tract cancers.
Dr de Martel and colleagues from France conducted a literature review of the epidemiological evidence linking the presence of Helicobacter species in bile or biliary tract biopsies to biliary tract cancers and benign diseases.
Reports showed great variability with respect to study methods.
The team identified 9 studies of biliary tract cancers, all with 30 or fewer biliary tract cancers.
|Helicobacter species were detected more frequently in patients with biliary tract cancer |
|British Journal of Cancer |
The team found that 8 included cancer-free control subjects, and used polymerase chain reaction as a means of Helicobacter species detection.
The researchers found that in 4 of these studies, Helicobacter species were detected in patients with biliary tract cancer significantly more frequently than in controls.
In 2 studies, no Helicobacter species were detected in either cases or controls.
Helicobacter species were also often detected in benign biliary tract diseases such as gallstone disease or chronic cholecystitis.
Dr de Martel’s team concluded, “As our current knowledge relies on a few small studies that showed substantial differences.”
“Larger studies and more standardized protocols for detecting DNA and antibodies against Helicobacter species are needed to investigate a potential association with biliary tract cancer.”