OBJECTIVE - To evaluate the long-term effect of cumulative time exposed to infection on the progression of gastric lesions.
DESIGN - 795 adults with precancerous gastric lesions were randomised to receive anti- treatment at baseline. Gastric biopsies were obtained at baseline and at 3, 6, 12 and 16 years. A total of 456 individuals attended the 16-year visit. Cumulative time of exposure was calculated as the number of years infected during follow-up. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the risk of progression to a more advanced diagnosis (versus no change/regression) as well as gastric cancer risk by intestinal metaplasia (IM) subtype. For a more detailed analysis of progression, we also used a histopathology score assessing both severity and extension of the gastric lesions (range 1-6). The score difference between baseline and 16 years was modelled by generalised linear models.
RESULTS - Individuals who were continuously infected with for 16 years had a higher probability of progression to a more advanced diagnosis than those who cleared the infection and remained negative after baseline (p=0.001). Incomplete-type IM was associated with higher risk of progression to cancer than complete-type (OR, 11.3; 95% CI 1.4 to 91.4). The average histopathology score increased by 0.20 units/year (95% CI 0.12 to 0.28) among individuals continuously infected with . The effect of cumulative time of infection on progression in the histopathology score was significantly higher for individuals with atrophy (without IM) than for individuals with IM (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS - Long-term exposure to infection was associated with progression of precancerous lesions. Individuals infected with with these lesions may benefit from eradication, particularly those with atrophic gastritis without IM. Incomplete-type IM may be a useful marker for the identification of individuals at higher risk for cancer.
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