Helicobacter pylori infection assessed by ELISA and by immunoblot and noncardia gastric cancer risk in a prospective study: the Eurgast-EPIC project.

C A González, F Megraud, A Buissonniere, L Lujan Barroso, A Agudo, E J Duell, M C Boutron-Ruault, F Clavel-Chapelon, D Palli, V Krogh, A Mattiello, R Tumino, C Sacerdote, J R Quirós, E Sanchez-CantalejoC Navarro, A Barricarte, M Dorronsoro, K-T Khaw, N Wareham, N E Allen, K K Tsilidis, H Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, S M Jeurnink, M E Numans, P H M Peeters, P Lagiou, E ValanouA Trichopoulou, R Kaaks, A Lukanova-McGregor, M M Bergman, H Boeing, J Manjer, B Lindkvist, R Stenling, G Hallmans, L M Mortensen, K Overvad, A Olsen, A Tjonneland, K Bakken, V Dumeaux, E LundM Jenab, I Romieu, D Michaud, T Mouw, F Carneiro, C Fenge, E Riboli, Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 23, 1320-4 (2012)


In epidemiological studies, Helicobacter pylori infection is usually detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). However, infection can spontaneously clear from the mucosa during the progression of atrophy and could lead to substantial under-detection of infection and underestimation of its effect on gastric cancer (GC) risk. Antibodies detected by western blot are known to persist longer after the loss of the infection.

In a nested case-control study from the Eurogast-EPIC cohort, including 88 noncardia GC cases and 338 controls, we assessed the association between noncardia GC and H. pylori infection comparing antibodies detected by western blot (HELICOBLOT2.1) to those detected by ELISA (Pyloriset EIA-GIII(®)).

By immunoblot, 82 cases (93.2%) were H. pylori positive, 10 of these cases (11.4%) were negative by ELISA and only 6 cases (6.8%) were negative by both ELISA and immunoblot. Multivariable odds ratio (OR) for noncardia GC comparing immunoglobulin G positive versus negative by ELISA was 6.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.0-15.1], and by immunoblot, the OR was 21.4 (95% CI 7.1-64.4).

Using a western blot assay, nearly all noncardia GC were classified as H. pylori positive and the OR was more than threefold higher than the OR assessed by ELISA, supporting the hypothesis that H. pylori infection is a necessary condition for noncardia GC.