Serum Pepsinogen as a Predictor for Gastric Cancer Death: A 16-Year Community-based Cohort Study

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The purpose of this article is to validate the long-term association between initial serum pepsinogen (PG) measurements and subsequent gastric cancer–specific deaths from a long-term longitudinal cohort.


Endoscopic surveillance can be effective and efficient in reducing gastric cancer mortality if a biomarker such as serum PG is available to identify high-risk individuals and if the biomarker also is specific to gastric cancer risk.


Between 1995 and 1998, a gastric cancer–screening program was conducted in a high-risk population: The first stage involved PG testing, and the second stage involved upper endoscopy. The outcome was gastric cancer death, which was monitored until December 31, 2010; results were expressed as the hazard ratio (HR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) using the Cox proportional hazards regression model. Other causes of death were used as comparators.


Among participants (n=3514) aged ≥30 years, 1682 (47.9%) were screened to determine serum PG levels. After 16 years of follow-up, 14 deaths from gastric cancer were documented. Multivariate analyses adjusted for age, sex, and Helicobacter pylori serological positivity showed that PG-I <30 μg/L and PG-I <30 μg/L or PG-I/II ratio <3 were significantly associated with the risk of gastric cancer death (HR, 3.27; 95% CI, 1.11-9.61 and HR, 3.45; 95% CI, 1.18-10.12, respectively). In contrast, there were no significant associations between PG and other causes of death, including neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases.


This long-term cohort study shows the usefulness of PG measurement as a biomarker that is specific to the risk of gastric cancer death.

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