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Keywords:

  • gastric cancer;
  • gastritis;
  • helicobacter pylori;
  • intestinal metaplasia;
  • peptic ulcers

Abstract

Since its' introduction by Warren and Marshall 27 years ago, Helicobacter pylori (HP) has become the linchpin in our understanding of important gastric conditions including gastritis, intestinal metaplasia (IM), gastric/duodenal ulcers (GU/DU), Mucosal Associated Lymphoid Tumour (MALToma) and gastric cancer. Initially named Campylobacter pyloridis, it was re-named HP when biochemical and genetic characterization of the organism showed that it was not a member of the Campylobacter genus. The finding in 1983 was seminal. It is now recognized that HP is the most common chronic human bacterial infection and it is the most common cause of gastritis. It is strongly implicated in the development of peptic ulcer disease and gastric neoplasms. In the years since its' discovery, much headway has been made in the understanding of this ubiquitous organism that had remained elusive, with much work focused on eradication, in part driven by pharmaceutical research and development. Standard triple therapy emerged to eradicate HP. However, with the emergence of HP resistance, newer regimes have been put forth that include quadruple therapy, sequential therapy and a dizzying array of other combinations bent on eradicating HP. Much less is known about the natural history of HP, the different faces of HP internationally, HP eradication and its effect on gastritis, IM, GU/DU and gastric cancer. This review will address the changing face of HP in 2011.