The great variability in gastric cancer rates across Asia, with very high incidences in Japan and Korea, and exceedingly low incidences in ethnic Malays, whether in Malaysia or Indonesia, appears largely due to variation in Helicobacter pylori infection rates. While between 2% and 10.6% of gastric cancers in a recent Japanese survey were considered to be negative for bacterial infection on the basis of seropositivity and H. pylori-dependent mucosal atrophy, it is notoriously difficult to preclude past infection. The situation is greatly complicated by reported differences in the etiology of gastric cardia and non-cardia cancers. In the Western world there do appear to be tumours arising close to the esophageal-gastric junction which are not related to H. pylori and associated inflammation, but in most Asian populations these appear to be very rare. Therefore preventive efforts, and particularly screening, should be focused on markers of bacterial infection, with avoidance of unnecessary exposure to X-ray radiation.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.