Gene May Explain Why Some Have Higher Stomach Cancer Risk
WebMD News Archive
Neal J. Meropol, MD, tells WebMD that a test for the gene variation that
El-Omar found would help doctors decide which patients are at high risk for
gastric cancer. Those patients could then be singled out for especially careful
follow-up. Meropol, who was not involved in the study, is director of the
Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in
"It is clear that there is an interaction between environmental factors
and the host, or patient, in terms of risk for many types of cancer,"
Meropol says. "Why do some people smoke but never develop lung cancer? Why
do some patients with H. pylori get ulcers while others develop gastric
cancer? ...The future is that we are going to be [examining the genes of] both
the tumor and the patient to determine the best approach to therapy."
- Researchers have found a genetic explanation for why people infected with
H. pylori are at high risk for either stomach cancer or ulcers, but not
- Some people have a gene that causes them to produce low levels of gastric
acid, leaving the stomach less able to fight off toxins and the H.
pylori infection, which can lead to cancer.
- Others, who lack the gene, produce higher levels of gastric acid in the
stomach, which kills off infection but may cause ulcer formation.