The relation between Helicobacter pylori, intestinal metaplasia, and early gastric cancer was studied by examining gastrectomy specimens from 31 intestinal type and 22 diffuse type carcinomas. A total of 298 patients with antral gastritis were used as controls. Atrophic changes and intestinal metaplasia were significantly more common in intestinal type early gastric cancer compared with diffuse type early gastric cancer (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively). H pylori was found in 61.3% of intestinal type early gastric cancer and in 54.5% of diffuse type early gastric cancer (NS). The age adjusted prevalence of intestinal metaplasia in the patients with antral gastritis was higher in H pylori positive patients in all age groups studied. Comparing gastritis patients with patients with intestinal type early gastric cancer showed the age adjusted prevalence of intestinal metaplasia to be significantly higher in the patients with early gastric cancer in all age groups studied. In conclusion, H pylori is associated with both types of early gastric carcinoma. Intestinal metaplasia formation seems to be a multifactorial process in which H pylori may play a part. These findings suggest that gastric cancer may be included in the spectrum of H pylori associated diseases, although many questions about causality remain to be answered.
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