Helicobacter pylori-positive patients with pruritic skin diseases are at increased risk for gastric cancer

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Abstract

Background

Helicobacter pylori infection has been implicated as a possible cause of extraintestinal disorders such as skin diseases. A number of case reports describe patients with skin diseases, such as prurigo nodularis, that are associated with gastric cancer.

Aim

The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of H. pylori infection and the incidence of gastric cancer in patients with pruritic skin diseases.

Methods

The patients were examined for circulating specific IgG antibodies against H. pylori in sera using ELISA. H. pylori-positive patients who were more than 40 years old underwent endoscopic screening for gastric cancer.

Results

We examined 134 patients with pruritic skin diseases, including 55 cases of cutaneous pruritus, 21 cases of prurigo chronica multiforme, 15 cases of nummular dermatitis and 43 cases of chronic urticaria. Early gastric cancer was detected in 2/36 (5.6%) patients with cutaneous pruritus and 3/16 (18.8%) with prurigo chronica multiforme. The prevalence of early gastric cancer was 5.6%, which was much higher than that among patients undergoing general endoscopic screening for gastric cancer.

Conclusions

These results suggest that H. pylori-positive patients with pruritic skin diseases may be at increased risk for development of gastric cancer, and endoscopic screening in such patients is recommended.

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