AIMS: To investigate the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori associated chronic gastritis in patients with gastric cancer. METHODS: Serum IgG antibodies for H pylori were determined in 54 consecutive patients with gastric carcinoma. The prevalence of H pylori in gastric mucosa was also examined histologically (modified Giemsa) in 32 patients from whom adequate biopsy specimens of the antrum and corpus were available. Thirty five patients with gastrointestinal tumours outside the stomach and 48 with non-gastrointestinal malignancies served as controls. RESULTS: Of the 54 patients, 38 (70%) had H pylori antibodies (IgG) in their serum (three additional patients had H pylori antibodies IgA, class specific but not IgG specific). This prevalence was significantly higher (p less than 0.05) than that (49%) in the 35 controls. No differences in prevalence of H pylori antibodies were found between gastric cancer cases of intestinal (IGCA) or diffuse (DGCA) type, both these types showing H pylori antibodies (IgG) in 71% of the patients. In the subgroup of 32 subjects, five patients had normal gastric mucosa and four showed corpus limited atrophy ("pernicious anaemia type" atrophy of type A). All of these nine patients had no evidence of current or previous H pylori infection in serum (no IgG antibodies) or in tissue sections (negative Giemsa staining). The remaining 23 patients had antral or pangastritis, and all had evidence of current or previous H pylori infection. CONCLUSIONS: H pylori associated chronic gastritis was the associated disease in 75% of the patients with gastric cancer occurring equally often in both IGCA and DGCA groups. About 25% of cases seem to have a normal stomach or severe corpus limited atrophy, neither of which showed evidence of concomitant H pylori infection.
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