Gastric cancer remains a deadly cancer with poor outcomes in the United States. There is a need for screening strategies for gastric cancer in the U.S. population. With progressive Helicobacter pylori–mediated inflammation of the gastric mucosa, pepsinogen I levels decrease and the pepsinogen I/II ratio decreases. Pepsinogen test positivity (PG+) has been evaluated as a promising screening test among Asian and European populations; however, its utility in multiethnic U.S. populations is poorly described. In this case-control study nested within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, In and colleagues evaluate the discrimination of PG+ in serum collected from individuals prior to the development of gastric cancer. The authors find that PG+ individuals were at nearly 10-fold increased risk for developing gastric cancer, and this effect remained robust after adjusting for Helicobacter pylori status, family history, education, smoking, and obesity. In subgroup analysis, the predictive ability of the test was particularly robust for noncardia gastric cancers, and nonpredictive of cardia gastric cancers. Serum pepsinogen testing holds promise as a noninvasive screening strategy to triage individuals at heightened risk for gastric cancer, and may help to improve early diagnosis in the United States.

See related article by In et al., p. 1426

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