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Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric cancer

      Abstract

      The pathogenesis of gastric cancer (GC) includes a sequence of events that begins with Helicobacter pylori-induced chronic superficial gastritis, progressing towards atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia and eventually GC. The association between H. pylori and GC is supported by experimental data showing a capacity of H. pylori to induce GC in animals, and the results of interventional studies showing that H. pylori eradication can lower the risk of GC and prevent development of pre-cancerous lesions in humans and in experimental animals. The ‘driving force’ of gastric carcinogenesis is a chronic gastric inflammation, whose intensity and localisation depending on bacterial, host and environmental factors, determines the risk of GC. The mechanisms by which chronic inflammation lead to epithelial and pre-cancerous lesions include induction of oxidative stress, perturbation of the epithelial cells proliferation/apoptosis ratio, and cytokine secretion. Several molecular alterations associated with gastric carcinogenesis have also been described.

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