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EPMA J. 2010 Sep;1(3):461-71. doi: 10.1007/s13167-010-0043-0. Epub 2010 Jul 22.

Epidemiological aspects of gastric adenocarcinoma: are predictive diagnostics and targeted preventive measures possible?

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Upper Gastrointestinal Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Norra Stationsgatan 67, 2 tr, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.


The incidence of gastric cancer has witnessed major changes over the past decades. Until recently, gastric cancer was a common malignancy in most countries. A striking decline in incidence in most Western populations has occurred since the 1970s, and elucidating the detailed causes for this trend can potentially be of great value for targeted preventive measures. Furthermore, it can add to the understanding of malignant disease and prevention in general. Moreover, the absolute number of cases worldwide is predicted to increase during many years to come. Gastric cancer is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage in symptomatic patients, and there are often no effective curative or palliative or therapeutic options. This fact highlights the need for research aiming to increase our understanding of the etiology of this cancer, facilitating the design of successful targeted preventive strategies for different populations. The future outlook in terms of decreasing gastric cancer deaths would be to identify such intelligent diagnostic tools. In this article, we present a summary of the epidemiology of gastric cancer, with special focus on its etiology.

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