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||H. pylori seropositivity before age 40 and subsequent risk of stomach cancer: a glimpse of the true relationship?
||Persson C, Jia Y, Pettersson H, Dillner J, NyrÃ©n O, Ye W
||Stomach carcinogenesis involves mucosal and luminal changes that favor spontaneous disappearance of Helicobacter pylori. Therefore, the association between the infection and cancer risk might typically be underestimated. As acquisition of the infection almost invariably occurs before adulthood, the serostatus at age 16-40 should best reflect the lifetime occurrence of the infection. We therefore conducted a case-control study nested within a historic cohort of about 400,000 individuals who donated sera before age 40 to either of two large Swedish Biobanks between 1968 and 2006, and whose records were linked to complete nationwide registers. For each stomach adenocarcinoma case occurring at least 5 years after serum donation 2 controls were selected matched on age, sex and year of donation and biobank. Serum immunoglobulin G antibodies against H. pylori cell-surface antigens (Hp-CSAs) were measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and antibodies against CagA with an immunoblot assay. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) for stomach adenocarcinoma among H. pylori infected relative to uninfected. We confirmed 59 incident cases of stomach adenocarcinoma (41 non-cardia tumors) during follow-up. ORs for non-cardia stomach adenocarcinoma among subjects with Hp-CSA antibodies (regardless of CagA serostatus), antibodies against CagA (regardless of Hp-CSA serostatus), and antibodies to both, relative to those who were seronegative to both, were 17.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.0-72.9), 10.9 (95% CI 3.2-36.9), and 48.5 (95% CI 5.8-407.4), respectively. H. pylori infection is a much stronger risk factor for non-cardia stomach adenocarcinoma than initially realized. However, further studies are needed to answer whether it is a necessary cause, as the possibility of misclassification of H. pylori status could not be ruled out in our study.