About Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer
H. pylori is a pathogen that colonizes on an estimated 50 % of the world’s population.
It has been estimated that half of the world’s population is colonized with H. pylori. The majority of people are asymptomatic, but long-term carriage of the pathogen has been shown to increase the risk of peptic ulcers and gastric cancers. Gastric cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. It is a global health concern, causing over one million new cases and more than 700,000 deaths annually. The IARC, an agency of WHO, has recently recommended population-based screening for H. pylori to help prevent gastric cancer.
Clarithromycin is the key antibiotic in the standard primary eradication triple therapy. Clarithromycin resistance is the most important reason for primary eradication therapy failure. Current screening methods (stool antigen tests, urea breath tests, and serological tests) cannot detect clarithromycin resistance. This diagnosis requires a gastroscopy and a gastric biopsy, successful culture and AST – method which is expensive, slow and inconvenient for the patient. To guide effective primary therapy, the potential clarithromycin resistance needs to be identified at the first phase before primary therapy.
By using a screening method capable of identifying both H. pylori and clarithromycin resistance with a non-invasive procedure, the rate of therapy failures can be lowered, the number of gastroscopies and biopsies reduced, and through effective treatment, the number of gastric cancers lowered.