Associations between Helicobacter pylori gene diversity and gastric cancer have not been reported on in Costa Rica, despite its being one of the countries with the highest gastric cancer incidence and mortality rates in the world. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of H. pylori cagA and vacA genes and investigate whether it could be correlated with atrophic gastritis (AG) and gastric cancer (GC) in Costa Rica.
Genomic DNAs from isolates of 104 patients classified into two groups: non-atrophic gastritis group (n = 68) and atrophic gastritis group (n = 36), were subjected to PCR-based genotyping of cagA and vacA genes and their correlation with clinical outcome was investigated. Total DNA extractions from gastric tissues of 25 H. pylori-infected gastric cancer patients were utilized for comparative purposes.
The presence of cagA (75.3%), vacA s1b (75.3%), and vacA m1 (74.2%) was detected, and colonization by strains with different vacA genotypes in the same stomach was found in 9.7% of the patients. Age- and sex-adjusted vacA s1b and vacA m1 were associated with GC while only vacA m1 was significantly associated with AG. A tendency for association between cagA and vacA s1b, and AG was reported.
The prevalence status of the cagA and vacA (s1/m1) genes in Costa Rica seems to fall between that found in European/North American and East Asian countries, and both cagA and vacA seem to have clinical relevance in this country.