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Decline in Gastric Cancer Predicted Over Next Decade

Dutch study bases projection on steady decline of pre-malignant lesions

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of gastric cancer should decline in Western countries by at least 24 percent over the next decade due to treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections, according to study findings published online Aug. 14 in Gut.

Ernst Kuipers, M.D., Ph.D., of Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues used national histopathology data to count the number of patients newly diagnosed with atrophic gastritis (23,278), intestinal metaplasia (65,937) and gastric dysplasia (8,517) between 1991 and 2005. Median age at diagnosis was 65.7 years, with lesions detected at significantly younger ages in males.

The annual decline in diagnoses for atrophic gastritis and gastric dysplasia over the course of the study was 8.2 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively, distributed equally between men and women. Diagnoses of intestinal metaplasia declined 2.4 percent per year among women and 2.9 percent per year in men. The rate of new diagnoses for atrophic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia declined even more rapidly after 1996.

"Although gastric carcinogenesis is a complex and multifactorial process," the authors conclude, "H. pylori infection rates in childhood can presumably predict the occurrence rates of pre-malignant lesions later in life and possibly even gastric cancer in different birth cohorts."

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