H Pylori Screening To Reduce The Risk Of Gastric Cancer

ANN ARBOR---Researchers at the University of Michigan have completed a study that provides compelling clinical and economic evidence for population-based Helicobactor pylori (H pylori) screening to reduce the risk of gastric cancer.

Investigators, employing a comprehensive computer analysis, found that H pylori screening could potentially provide important health benefits at a reasonable cost even if elimination of H pylori reduced the increased risk of gastric cancer by only 15 percent in infected individuals.

The study is published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

H pylori's role in most peptic ulcer disease cases has been well documented. People infected with H pylori are also at an increased risk for gastric cancer, prompting the World Health Organization to classify H pylori as a group 1 carcinogen in humans. However, to date, no clinical trial has demonstrated whether the elimination of H pylori infection actually decreases an infected person's already-increased risk for this relatively rare, but frequently lethal, cancer.

"A clinical trial providing definitive evidence that elimination of H pylori infection reduces gastric cancer risk will not be completed for several years," says A. Mark Fendrick, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine in the U-M Health System. "In the interim, we constructed a computer simulation to estimate the potential health and economic consequences of H pylori screening over a range of cancer risk-reduction.

"The ease and low cost of H pylori diagnosis and treatment should make screening attractive to both patients and health care providers. Interestingly, if elimination of H pylori infection reduces cancer risk significantly, this cancer prevention program has the potential to be more cost-effective than mammography and PSA testing."

This is largely due to two factors. First, gastric cancer strikes earlier in life than other common cancers. Therefore, each gastric cancer case prevented led t

Contact: Pete Barkey
University of Michigan

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