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Gastric cancer ranks fourth in incidence and second in mortality among all cancers worldwide. Despite the decrease in incidencein some regions of the world, gastric cancer continues to present a major clinical challenge due to most cases beingdiagnosed in advanced stages with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. The development of gastric cancer is acomplex and multi-factored process involving a number of etiological factors and multiple genetic and epigenetic alterations.Among the predisposing factors are: Helicobacter pylori infection, high salt intake, smoking, and, in a small percentage ofpatients, a family genetic component. More than 90% of stomach cancers are adenocarcinomas, which are classified intotwo major histological groups: intestinal and diffuse. Intestinal adenocarcinoma is preceded by a sequence of gastric lesionsknown as Correa´s cascade. According to the anatomical position, adenocarcinomas are classified as proximal (originatingin the cardia) and distal (originating in the body and antrum). This is a classification that recognizes two different clinicalentities. In general, the only possible cure for the disease is resection of the tumor in an early stage for which the identificationand monitoring of at-risk patients play a significant role. With the exception of Japan, no effective early detection programsexist. Anti-H. pylori has been shown to be an effective measure in the prevention of gastric cancer.
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Received 2012-12-27
Accepted 2013-08-16
Published 2013-09-30