Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is one of the most common bacteria infecting humans. Recently, certain extragastric manifestations, linked to Hp infection, have been widely investigated, suggesting that Hp infection might be a 'systemic' disease. Accumulating, yet limited, evidence points to a potential association between Hp infection and lung cancer risk. Epidemiologic studies have shown that odds ratios (estimated relative risks) of lung cancer with Hp infection range from 1.24 to 17.78 compared with the controls, suggesting an increased lung cancer risk in the population exposed to Hp infection although far from supporting a causal relationship between Hp and lung cancer. Many studies have demonstrated the existence of Hp in the mucosa of the upper respiratory tract with no direct evidence of Hp-localization in lung tissue in the published literatures, rendering the possible functional mechanism underlying the association an open question. We followed the classic hypothesis-generating path, where we have thoroughly reviewed the publications on lung cancer and Hp infection from serological association to possible mechanisms as: (i) p130cas activated by Src kinase following Hp-host communication and p130cas-related carcinogenesis as in various malignancies; and (ii) gastroesophageal reflux and inhalation of urease or gastrin, which are Hp-related carcinogenic factors and present in lung tissues. We propose rigorous investigations regarding the Hp-lung cancer association and, if confirmed, the mechanisms of Hp infection leading to lung cancer development and progression. Clarification on Hp-lung cancer association is important for the understanding of lung cancer beyond tobacco-smoking-related carcinogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research