What is the pathophysiology of gastric cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Elwyn C Cabebe, MD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Ooi et al identified three oncogenic pathways that are deregulated in the majority (>70%) of gastric cancers: the proliferation/stem cell, NF-kappaβ, and Wnt/beta-catenin pathways. Their study suggests that interactions between these pathways may play an important role in influencing disease behavior and patient survival. [8]

The intestinal type of non-cardia gastric cancer is generally thought to arise from Helicobacter pylori infection, which initiates a sequence that progresses from chronic non-atrophic gastritis to atrophic gastritis, then intestinal metaplasia, and finally dysplasia. This progression is known as Correa’s cascade. In a population-based cohort study, Swedish researchers found that after a 2-year latency, patients with precancerous gastric lesions were at higher risk for gastric cancer than the general Swedish population, and that risk increased steadily with progression through Correa’s cascade. The researchers estimated that the 20-year gastric cancer risk in patients with particular gastroscopy findings was as follows [9] :

  • Normal mucosa – One in 256
  • Gastritis – One in 85
  • Atrophic gastritis – One in 50
  • Intestinal metaplasia – One in 39
  • Dysplasia – One in 19

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