BETHESDA, MARYLAND. The presence of Helicobacter pylori bacteria has been strongly linked to stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the Finnish National Public Health Institute now report that a H. pylori infection may also be a strong risk factor for pancreatic cancer (exocrine). The study involved 29,133 male Finnish smokers aged 50 to 69 years at baseline. During 10 years of follow-up 121 of the men developed cancer of the pancreas. The case subjects were matched with 226 cancer-free subjects. The researchers noted a higher incidence of H. pylori infection among the cancer patients than among the controls (82 versus 73 per cent) and concluded that pancreatic cancer was twice as common among participants who tested positive for H. pylori as among those who tested negative. This association became stronger after adjusting for years of smoking. The researchers also noted that cancer cases had significantly lower blood serum levels of folic acid, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).
Stolzenberg-Solomon, Rachael Z., et al. Helicobacter pylori seropositivity as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 93, June 20, 2001, pp. 937-41