Helicobacter pylori infection and esophageal adenocarcinoma: a review and a personal view

Authors Stergios A. Polyzos, Christos Zeglinas, Fotini Artemaki, Michael Doulberis, Evangelos Kazakos, Panagiotis Katsinelos, Jannis Kountouras.


Esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) is etiologically associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There is evidence to support the sequence GERD, Barrett's esophagus (BE), dysplasia, and finally EAC, with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) being implicated in each step to EAC. On the other side of this relation stands the hypothesis of the protective role of H. pylori against EAC. Based on this controversy, our aim was to review the literature, specifically original clinical studies and metaanalyses linking H. pylori infection with EAC, but also to provide our personal and others' relative views on this topic. From a total of 827 articles retrieved, 10 original clinical studies and 6 metaanalyses met the inclusion criteria. Original studies provided inconclusive data on an inverse or a neutral association between H. pylori infection and EAC, whereas meta-analyses of observational studies favor an inverse association. Despite these data, we consider that the positive association between H. pylori infection and GERD or BE, but not EAC, is seemingly a paradox. Likewise, the oncogenic effect of H. pylori infection on gastric and colon cancer, but not on EAC, also seems to be a paradox. In this regard, well-designed prospective cohort studies with a powered sample size are required, in which potential confounders should be taken into consideration since their design.

Keywords Helicobacter pylori, esophageal adenocarcinoma, Barrett's esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease

Ann Gastroenterol 2018; 31 (1): 8-13

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