About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Study Dismisses Cancer Safety Fears of Common Heartburn Treatment

by VR Sreeraman on September 13, 2009 at 10:58 AM
Font : A-A+

 Study Dismisses Cancer Safety Fears of Common Heartburn Treatment

The largest ever study on 'Proton pump inhibitors' (PPI)-the second most prescribed group of drugs for heartburn-has dismissed all fears about the cancer causing effects of the treatment.

PPI are the most commonly used treatment for chronic acid reflux, or 'heartburn', a painful burning sensation in the chest, neck and throat which is experienced by almost a third of people in developed countries.


Regular and prolonged heartburn is known to cause 'benign oesophagitis', a reversible inflammation of the gullet.

However if left untreated a condition called Barrett's Oesophagus (BE) occurs in around 10 per cent of sufferers, which can in turn develop into a potentially fatal cancer called oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

While PPIs had an excellent safety record, it was unclear if long-term use of these drugs to reduce the discomfort of heartburn could increase the risk of developing either BE or the spread of the associated cancer.

But, the new research carried out at Queen Mary, University of London and Leicester Royal Infirmary, has given the most conclusive evidence yet that this is not the case.

Professor Janusz Jankowski, who co-authored the study, said: "This is one of the most detailed studies investigating both the laboratory and clinical side of proton pump inhibitor drugs. As a consequence we are now better able to inform patients of the good benefit/risk ratio of this commonly prescribed therapy."

Tests carried out during the two-year study looked at tissue sampled from the oesophagus lining of ninety volunteers, each of whom were given PPI drugs at either a high or low dosage.

Researchers found that there was no difference in the rate at which BE developed, neither was there a change in the number of precancerous cells in either group.

Despite fears about how the treatments might affect people already suffering from BE, the study showed that there was no evidence that this led to any worsening of the condition or any extra incidences of cancer.

PPIs work by blocking the action of gastrin, a hormone that controls acid levels in the stomach, and is known to increase the normal movement of cells in the gastro-intestinal tract.

Since PPI therapy increases the levels of gastrin in the body, it had been thought this could cause expansion of BE affected tissue, but this was not found to be the case.

In fact, the scientists observed neither expansion nor contraction of the abnormal tissue.

The study has been published in the peer reviewed journal Gut.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Peptic Ulcer Cancer and Homeopathy Reflux Esophagitis Cancer Facts GERD Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Xenophobia Barrett’s Esophagus Indigestion 

Recommended Reading
Heartburn and Ulcer Drugs Could Lead to Pneumonia
US researchers say that that drugs commonly used to treat heartburn and prevent ulcers can cause ......
Hip Fracture Risk Hiked With Usage of Heartburn Drugs
Even short-term use of popular acid-reducing heartburn drugs could increase the risk of ...
Heartburn Pills Ineffective For Asthma Patients: Study
Heartburn medications are often prescribed to people with poorly controlled asthma, however, the ......
How to Distinguish Between Heartburn and Heart Attack
Feasting on a high-fat, carbohydrate-filled meal followed by a generous slice of pumpkin pie on a .....
Barrett’s Esophagus
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the inner lining of the esophagus changes to resemble the i...
This condition occurs due to the reflux of hydrochloric acid of the stomach into the oesophagus...
Indigestion or dyspepsia is referred to nonspecific symptoms or discomfort that causes persistent p...
Peptic Ulcer
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general information about Peptic Ulcer...
Reflux Esophagitis
Reflux esophagitis is a condition causing inflammation of the lining of the esophagus. This happens ...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...
Xenophobia can be studied from two different perspectives. First as a medical condition ‘phobia’ sec...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use