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Clin Exp Med. 2006 Jun;6(2):72-8.

Association of serum pepsinogen with atrophic body gastritis in Costa Rica.

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  • 1Institute of Health Research (INISA), University of Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.


Individuals with atrophic gastritis (AG), especially atrophic body gastritis (ABG), are at increased risk of developing gastric cancer. Serum concentrations of pepsinogens (PG) have been proposed as markers for ABG. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors for AG and ABG and the potential of using serum PG concentrations to detect ABG in a dyspeptic population in Costa Rica, which is one of the countries with the highest incidence and mortality rates of gastric cancer in the world. Seven biopsy specimens, a fasting blood sample and a questionnaire concerning sociodemographic factors were obtained from 501 consecutive dyspeptic patients. The serum PGI level and the PGI/PGII ratios were significantly lower in patients with ABG than in other groups (P<0.000). A cut-off point of 3.4 led to a sensitivity of 91.2% in identifying ABG, a negative predictive value of 98.1%, but a positive predictive value of only 11.2%. Helicobacter pylori were present in 93% of the patients and all those with peptic ulcers were positive. AG was associated with increased age, lower body mass index, high alcohol intake and low fruit consumption. ABG was associated with age, alcohol consumption and PGI/PGII<3.4. In dyspeptic patients with a high prevalence of H. pylori infection, serum PG levels provide an assessment of ABG but it is necessary to introduce other serological and genetic markers in order to achieve a better specificity. Those markers could be serum antibodies to H. pylori-CagA, cytokine gene polymorphisms or others.

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