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Br J Cancer. 2009 Jan 13;100(1):194-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604780. Epub 2008 Nov 25.

Helicobacter species in cancers of the gallbladder and extrahepatic biliary tract.

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International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon cedex 08, France.


Helicobacter species have been found in human bile and biliary tract (BT) tissue and are suspected to cause BT diseases, including gallbladder and extrahepatic cancers, collectively referred to in this work as BT cancers. We conducted a literature review of the epidemiological evidence linking the presence of Helicobacter species in bile or BT biopsies to BT cancers and benign diseases. Reports showed great variability with respect to study methods. Nine studies of BT cancers were identified, all with 30 or fewer BT cancers; eight included cancer-free control subjects and used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as a means of Helicobacter species detection. In four of these studies, Helicobacter species were detected in patients with BT cancer significantly more frequently than in controls, at least when controls without BT diseases were used. In two studies, no Helicobacter species were detected in either cases or controls. Helicobacter species were also often detected in benign BT diseases such as gallstone disease or chronic cholecystitis. As our current knowledge relies on a few small studies that showed substantial differences, larger studies and more standardised protocols for detecting DNA and antibodies against Helicobacter species are needed to investigate a potential association with BT cancer.

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