Geographic association of Helicobacter pylori antibody prevalence and gastric cancer mortality in rural China



To examine the geographic association between Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric cancer, we have assessed the prevalence of IgG antibodies to H. pylori in plasma samples taken in 1983 from 1882 men, aged 35-64 years, in 46 rural counties of the People's Republic of China. The gastric cancer mortality rates in these counties in 1973-75 varied from 3 per 1,000 (cumulative rate, 0-64 years) to 69 per 1, 000. while the proportions of the population positive for H. pylori antibodies (based on an average of about 41 men per county) varied from 28% to 96%. After correction for the limited number of blood samples per county, the estimated correlation between H. pyori antibody prevalence and gastric cancer mortality was 40% (p = 0.02). No other type of cancer showed a significant association with H. pylori.