What is the relationship between genes and infection in stomach cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports


A common bacterium called Helicobacter pylori or H.pylori infects the stomach, and is known to cause stomach ulcers. Now new research links this infection and genetics to the development of stomach or gastric cancer. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, describes the study.

Nelson: In the initial part of the study they looked at the more than 10,000 subjects that had gastric cancer. 38,000 controls they could line up and they were able to get information on whether they had H. pylori infections and found the genes that were encoding proteins that participate in the repair of damage to the genome were associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer on their own. H. pylori is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer on its own.  And the two of them together interact in such a way that it heightens that risk.:33

Nelson says it’s too early to say whether screening for H.pylori infections and treating them will help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.