A coating of cells that appear like standard stomach lining atop of sites of stomach cancer can make it hard to detect after extraction of a Helicobacter pylori infection. Scientists from Hiroshima University have revealed the source of this layer of cells in a new study. More precisely, it is generated by the cancer tissue itself.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a kind of bacteria that thrives in people’s stomachs. The bacteria has to neutralize the stomach’s acid to survive the harsh environment. H. pylori are the leading cause of stomach cancer, one of the most usual types of cancer which can have a low survival percentage.
The bacteria cause inflammation by infusing a substance similar to toxins into mucosal cells that cover the stomach. This extermination and regeneration of these cells can conduct to the expansion of stomach cancer.
Source of Cell Layer That Hides Stomach Cancer Has Been Discovered
In this research, professor Kazuaki Chayama, from Hiroshima University Hospital and his colleagues discovered the source of a weird layer of cells that was observable on stomach cancer sites after treatment of H. pylori. This lining, called epithelium with low-grade atypia (ELA), was similar to mucosal cells that cover the stomach and acted as a mask to hide cancer. Until now, researchers didn’t know the origins of this layer.
An H. pylori infection is healed after a series of antibiotics that leave a reddish cavity in the stomach. Chayama explained that infection destruction impacts the regeneration of gastric mucosa. After eradication, there are left many reddish cavities in the organ, and the majority are not cancer. However, it is rather hard to identify the ELA mucosa from all the other regular mucosa.
The research team conducted an initial study on ten patients after gastric operations and searched this layer of cells. The ELA cells’ DNA was actively analyzed and was discovered to be similar to stomach cancer cells. ELA was determined to originate from the stomach cancer tissue itself. Chayama emphasizes that clinicians should be mindful of this layer, so they don’t overlook potential sites of stomach cancer. The professor also said that it is vital for patients to continue having check-ups even after completing the treatment for H. pylori. The study has been published in the Journal of Gastroenterology on June the 13th.