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Helicobacter pylori in gastric carcinogenesis.

Gastric cancer still is a major concern as the third most common cancer worldwide, despite declining rates of incidence in many Western countries. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the major cause of gastric carcinogenesis, and its infection insults gastric mucosa leading to the occurrence of atrophic gastritis which progress to intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia, early gastric cancer, and advanced gastric cancer consequently. This review focuses on multiple factors including microbial virulence factors, host genetic factors, and environmental factors, which can heighten the chance of occurrence of gastric adenocarcinoma due to H. pylori infection. Bacterial virulence factors are key components in controlling the immune response associated with the induction of carcinogenesis, and cagA and vacA are the most well-known pathogenic factors. Host genetic polymorphisms contribute to regulating the inflammatory response to H. pylori and will become increasingly important with advancing techniques. Environmental factors such as high salt and smoking may also play a role in gastric carcinogenesis. It is important to understand the virulence factors, host genetic factors, and environmental factors interacting in the multistep process of gastric carcinogenesis. To conclude, prevention via H. pylori eradication and controlling environmental factors such as diet, smoking, and alcohol is an important strategy to avoid H. pylori-associated gastric carcinogenesis.

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