The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection and the development of gastric cancer are both believed to increase with age in Japan.
However, no studies have investigated people older than 65 years in detail.
Dr Takashi Joh and colleagues investigated the prevalence of H pylori infection and gastric cancer in the elderly.
The research team analyzed the influence of both factors on longevity.
|Gastric cancer was significantly lower in subjects older than 85 years|
|Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
All patients investigated were 65 years old and over.
The team used a total of 1877 autopsy cases to investigate the prevalence of gastric cancer and colonic cancer.
Serum samples were obtained from 644 patients with dyspepsia and analyzed for H pylori immunoglobin antibodies.
Of these 644 patients, the researchers reported that 63 underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopies.
The researchers obtained 5 biopsies were obtained and evaluated for morphological variables including neutrophils, and mononuclear cell.
Biopsies were also evaluated for morphological variables including atrophy, and intestinal metaplasia.
H pylori infection was evaluated histologically and with the 13C-urea breath test.
The team found that the prevalence of gastric cancer was significantly lower in subjects older than 85 years.
The positive rate of serum H pylori immunoglobin, and infection as detected histologically and by the 13C-urea breath test, also decreased with age.
In H pylori positive patients, the researchers noted that the neutrophil score significantly decreased with age.
The team noted that in H pylori patients, however, the intestinal metaplasia score significantly increased with age.
Dr Joh's team concludes, “The non-infection of H pylori itself is not related to longevity in Japanese elderly, because even H pylori patients appear to have been infected previously with H pylori”.
“The lower prevalence of gastric cancer in the elderly may be due to the disappearance of H pylori colonization, which may contribute to longevity in Japanese elderly.”