The incidence rates of gastric cardia and esophageal adenocarcinomas are increasing, but data suggest that carriage of cagA(+) Helicobacter pylori strains may protect against development of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Our aims were to examine the relationship between pre-malignant and malignant lesions in the gastric cardia and serum antibodies to H. pylori antigens in patients with and without complications of Barrett's esophagus. The prevalence of carditis was 40% in controls compared with 13% in patients with complicated or uncomplicated Barrett's esophagus and cardia adenocarcinoma (p < 0.001). Cardia intestinal metaplasia (IM) and atrophy were present and concordant in 28% of controls but less frequent in patients with Barrett's alone or with dysplasia/adenocarcinoma (0% for each, p < 0.001). Carriage of cagA(+) strains was present in 34% of patients with carditis and significantly associated with increased frequency and severity of cardia inflammation, IM, and atrophy but not with adenocarcinoma. IgA and HspA seropositivity were significantly increased in H. pylori-colonized patients with carditis compared to persons with normal cardia histology (p = 0.005) but not in persons with esophageal disease or cardia adenocarcinoma. We conclude that carriage of cagA(+) H. pylori strains and induction of particular serological responses are significantly associated with marked histological findings in the gastric cardia but not with adenocarcinoma of either the gastric cardia or esophagus.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.