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Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep;1(2):111-20. doi: 10.1177/1756283X08094880.

Eradication of helicobacter pylori to prevent gastroduodenal diseases: hitting more than one bird with the same stone.

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1
Departments of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan and Division of Biostatistics, Graduate Institute of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) are gram-negative bacteria that selectively colonizes the gastric mucosa. The prevalence of H. pylori infection varies from 20 to 50% in industrialized countries to over 80% in developing countries. The infection may persist lifelong without specific treatment. Prolonged infection and inflammation due to bacterial virulence and host genetic factors will lead to chronic gastritis. A certain portion of infected patients then develop more severe pathologies such as peptic ulcer (10-15%), gastric cancer (1%), and mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma (50.01%). Although the majority of infected patients remain asymptomatic, much of the evidence has shown that eradication of H. pylori infection can reduce the recurrence of peptic ulcer and benefit a substantial portion of patients with nonulcer dyspepsia. Though controversial in population-based clinical trials, several cost-effectiveness analyses also reveal that H. pylori eradication is cost effective in the primary prevention of gastric cancer. Therefore, the discovery of H. pylori offers the chance to prevent several gastroduodenal diseases by means of their eradication. In other words, gastroenterologists could hit more than one bird with one stone. However, there are concerns regarding application of a 'test and treat' strategy in the general population. In this review, we will focus on current evidence of H. pylori eradication in the primary and secondary prophylaxis of gastric cancer and peptic ulcer disease.

KEYWORDS:

Helicobacter pylori; eradication; gastric cancer; nonulcer dyspepsia; peptic ulcer; prevention

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