A Strain of Bacteria May be a Risk Factor For Stomach Cancer

A new study has found that a certain type of bacteria may play a significant role in the development of stomach cancer. For more information, you can view the source news article here, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre’s website. Alternatively, you can find the published study here, at PLOS One.

About Stomach Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, almost 1000,000 people around the world were diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2012, and in many cases it is fatal. One of the reasons for the high mortality rates associated with stomach cancer is that, often, the disease has already reached a late stage at the time when it is diagnosed. Stomach cancer is likely to have vague symptoms early on, such as indigestion, heartburn, trapped wind, bloating, and stomach pain. Since these are common symptoms for a range of conditions, it may take a long time before a patient is diagnosed with cancer, making treatment more challenging.

The Research

Researchers from Fred Hutch and Zhengzhou University have identified a particular strain of the common Helicobacter pylori bacteria was found to be strongly correlated with stomach cancer. These preliminary findings may be useful as a basis for further research that could help doctors to identify, screen, and treat patients at high risk of stomach cancer.

What the Scientists Did

The team of researchers analysed the stomach endoscopies and stool samples of 49 patients for the presence of a particular form of H. pylori that had an ‘EPIYA D’ variant of the cagA gene. It was found that just over 90% of the patients with the genetic variant had cancer.

The Implications

These findings are preliminary and are based on a small number of people, so firm conclusions cannot be made at this stage. However, the results do indicate that using this bacterium may have the potential to become an effective method of identifying and screening patients who are at high risk.

Anna Hewitt

Anna Hewitt

Anna is from England and recently finished her undergraduate degree. She has an interest in medicine and enjoys writing. In her spare time she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with cats.

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