To assess the value of gastroscopic cancer surveillance of patients with pernicious anaemia, 56 patients were re-endoscoped and biopsied after three years. In addition, changes in the density of fundic mucosal endocrine cells were evaluated morphometrically. Two cases (3.6%) of early gastric cancer and two cases of small gastric carcinoid tumours (3.6%) were detected in addition to the five carcinoids that had been found at the initial endoscopic screening. Nodular argyrophil cell hyperplasia and morphometric density of argyrophil cells were not stable phenomena: nodular hyperplasias regressed in five patients, remained similar in six, and progressed to a small carcinoid tumour in one. Serum gastrin concentrations did not correlate well with changes in the endocrine cell density. Regular endoscopic surveillance for gastric cancer may be beneficial and realistic in young patients with pernicious anaemia while the importance of fundic endocrine cell hyperplasia and that of small gastric carcinoids need further study.
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