Lymphocytic gastritis and primary gastric lymphoma are rare conditions with unknown aetiology. It has recently been suggested that Helicobacter pylori has a role in the pathogenesis of both of them. The occurrence of lymphocytic gastritis and H pylori was studied in a series of patients with primary gastric lymphoma. The cases of primary gastric lymphomas (n = 35) diagnosed in years 1970-1993 were identified. The specimens of 22 cases contained gastric mucosa sufficiently so that the number of intra-epithelial lymphocytes, severity of gastritis, and occurrence of H pylori could be studied. Lymphocytic gastritis was detected in seven of 22 patients (32%), and in most cases both in antral and body mucosa. Atrophy of the body glands was significantly more severe in lymphocytic gastritis patients. H pylori was detected in 13 of all 22 patients (59%); two of seven lymphocytic gastritis patients (29%), and 11 of 15 (73%) of patients without lymphocytic gastritis were H pylori positive. Patients with gastric lymphoma have significantly increased prevalence of lymphocytic gastritis. Rarity of H pylori in these patients might be connected with atrophic changes in body mucosa. Further studies are needed to show the significance of lymphocytic gastritis as a precursor of gastric lymphoma.
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