Gastrin and gastric cancer
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionFrontiers in Endocrinology. 2017, 8:1 1-7. 10.3389/fendo.2017.00001
Gastric cancer although occurring in reduced frequency is still an important disease, partly because of the bad prognosis when occurring in western countries. This decline in occurrence may mainly be due to the reduced prevalence of Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection, which is the most important cause of gastric cancer. There exist many different pathological classifications of gastric carcinomas, but the most useful seems to be the one by Lauren into intestinal and diffuse types since these types seldom transform into the other and also have different epidemiology. During the nearly 30 years that have passed since the groundbreaking description of Hp as the cause of gastritis and gastric cancer, a continuous search for the mechanism by which Hp infection causes gastric cancer has been done. Interestingly, it is mainly atrophic gastritis of the oxyntic mucosa that predisposes to gastric cancer possibly by inducing hypoacidity and hypergastrinemia. There are many arguments in favor of an important role of gastrin and its target cell, the enterochromaffin-like cell, in gastric carcinogenesis. The role of gastrin in gastric carcinogenesis implies caution in the long-term treatment with inhibitors of gastric acid secretion inducing secondary hypergastrinemia, in a common disease like gastroesophageal reflux disease.