A prospective study with two gastric biopsies taken several years apart was carried out in 117 subjects with intestinal metaplasia who are of the Lewis(a-b+) phenotype. They are residents of a rural Andean region in Colombia displaying very high rates of gastric cancer. The anomalous expression of Lewis(a) antigens in the metaplastic epithelium carried a significantly increased risk of colonic metaplasia and dysplasia. Such risk was much higher when the simultaneous expression of sulfomucins and Lewis(a) antigen was observed.

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