Although epidemiological studies strongly suggest an association between gastric cancer and Helicobacter pylori infection, there has been no clinical report indicating that cure of the infection prevents cancer. We conducted a nonrandomized H. pylori eradication trial in patients whose gastric cancer was removed by endoscopic resection (ER). We investigated the effect of treatment on the histopathology of the gastric mucosa, as well as on the incidence of metachronous gastric cancer during the long-term clinical and endoscopic follow-up. One hundred and thirty-two patients with early gastric cancer underwent ER and had H. pylori infection. Sixty-five (group A) were treated with omeprazole and antibiotics to eradicate the infection, and 67 (group B) were not. All patients were followed for 2 years post ER. After eradication treatment in group A, the disappearance of neutrophil infiltration in the antrum and body of the stomach was observed as was a decrease of the severity of intestinal metaplasia. Endoscopy after ER detected no new gastric cancers in these patients. After 3 years of follow-up, 6 (9%) of the 67 patients in group B had a new early-stage, intestinal-type gastric cancer endoscopically diagnosed. The above results suggest that H. pylori eradication may improve neutrophil infiltration and intestinal metaplasia in the gastric mucosa and inhibit the development of new carcinomas. This finding should be confirmed in a randomized, controlled trial.

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