Serum pepsinogen level, atrophic gastritis and the risk of incident pancreatic cancer--a prospective cohort study.

Author(s): Laiyemo AO,  Kamangar F,  Marcus PM,  Taylor PR,  Virtamo J,  Albanes D,  Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ

Journal: Cancer Epidemiol

Date: 2009 Nov

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): BRG

PubMed ID: 19800305

PMC ID: PMC2787955

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer is a highly fatal disease without screening tests. Studies have suggested possible etiologic similarities between gastric and pancreatic cancers. Atrophic gastritis, a pre-malignant condition for gastric cancer, is characterized by low serum pepsinogen I (SPGI) level. We hypothesized that low SPGI level may be associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and be a useful biomarker for the disease. METHODS: Our analytic cohort included 20,962 participants in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study (ATBC) who had SPGI level measured. Of these, 1663 (7.9%) subjects had low SPGI levels (<25 microg/l) and were invited for gastroscopy which was completed in 1059 (63.7%) participants. Atrophic gastritis was histologically confirmed in 1006 (95.0%) subjects. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to calculate the hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for pancreatic cancer. RESULTS: During follow-up of up to 16.3 years (mean=10.8 years; 226,325 person-years), 227 incident pancreatic cancers were diagnosed. The incidence rates were 9.9, 11.3, and 12.7 per 10,000 person-years of follow-up for participants with normal pepsinogen level (> or = 25 microg/l), low pepsinogen level and histologically confirmed atrophic gastritis, respectively. Compared to subjects with normal pepsinogen levels, there was no statistically significant increased risk of pancreatic cancer among subjects with low pepsinogen level (adjusted HR=1.01; 95% CI: 0.63-1.62) or those with histologically confirmed atrophic gastritis (adjusted HR=1.13; 95% CI: 0.66-1.95). CONCLUSIONS: Atrophic gastritis, serological or histological, is not associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer. These findings do not provide any evidence for potential usefulness of SPGI for pancreatic cancer screening.