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BACKGROUND: Helicobacter pylori infection is a major cause of non-cardia gastric cancer (NCGC), but uncertainty remains about the associations between sero-positivity to different H. pylori antigens and risk of NCGC and cardia gastric cancer (CGC) in different populations. METHODS: A case-cohort study in China included ∼500 each of incident NCGC and CGC cases and ∼2000 subcohort participants. Sero-positivity to 12 H. pylori antigens was measured in baseline plasma samples using a multiplex assay. Hazard ratios (HRs) of NCGC and CGC for each marker were estimated using Cox regression. These were further meta-analysed with studies using same assay. RESULTS: In the subcohort, sero-positivity for 12 H. pylori antigens varied from 11.4% (HpaA) to 70.8% (CagA). Overall, 10 antigens showed significant associations with risk of NCGC (adjusted HRs: 1.33 to 4.15), and four antigens with CGC (HRs: 1.50 to 2.34). After simultaneous adjustment for other antigens, positive associations remained significant for NCGC (CagA, HP1564, HP0305) and CGC (CagA, HP1564, HyuA). Compared with CagA sero-positive only individuals, those who were positive for all three antigens had an adjusted HR of 5.59 (95% CI 4.68-6.66) for NCGC and 2.17 (95% CI 1.54-3.05) for CGC. In the meta-analysis of NCGC, the pooled relative risk for CagA was 2.96 (95% CI 2.58-3.41) [Europeans: 5.32 (95% CI 4.05-6.99); Asians: 2.41 (95% CI 2.05-2.83); Pheterogeneity<0.0001]. Similar pronounced population differences were also evident for GroEL, HP1564, HcpC and HP0305. In meta-analyses of CGC, two antigens (CagA, HP1564) were significantly associated with a higher risk in Asians but not Europeans. CONCLUSIONS: Sero-positivity to several H. pylori antigens was significantly associated with an increased risk of NCGC and CGC, with varying effects between Asian and European populations.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date



H. pylori antigens, Helicobacter pylori , CagA, cardia gastric cancer (CGC), non-cardia gastric cancer (NCGC), regional difference