Stomach cancer or gastric cancer is the third most common cause of death from cancer worldwide. People who are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium are more likely to develop the disease. A short course of two medicines, an antibiotic and another medicine that suppresses the production of gastric acid, that is commonly used to eliminate the bacterium may reduce the risk of stomach cancer, revealed a new research.
Study co-author Paul Moayyedi, professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada, said, "The findings of this systematic review add to the increasing evidence that eradicating H. pylori in the general population has the potential to prevent gastric cancer. International guidelines for the management of H. pylori infection may change as a result."
For the study, the research team analyzed all published randomized controlled trials which compared at least one week of H. pylori therapy with placebo or no treatment, in otherwise healthy and asymptomatic H. pylori-positive adults. The review included only trials that followed study participants for at least two years and that had at least two participants who developed gastric cancer. Six trials with a total of about 6,500 participants met the researchers' criteria.
The studies mainly used a combination of antibiotics with a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors that suppress gastric acid production. The research team found that combining antibiotics with gastric acid suppressor therapy given for between one and two weeks prevented the development of gastric cancer compared with placebo or no treatment.
Moayyedi said, "We feel our review provides sufficient evidence for countries with high gastric cancer rates to consider population H.pylori testing and treating."
The findings are published in the Cochrane Library.