Open Access Open Badges Research article

Gastric Helicobacter pylori infection associates with an increased risk of colorectal polyps in African Americans

Hassan Brim1, Marwah Zahaf2, Adeyinka O Laiyemo2, Mehdi Nouraie3, Guillermo I Pérez-Pérez4, Duane T Smoot2, Edward Lee1, Hadie Razjouyan6 and Hassan Ashktorab25*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA

2 Department of Medicine and Cancer Center, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA

3 Sickle Cell Disease Center, Department of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA

4 Department of Medicine and Microbiology, New York University, New York, NY, USA

5 Cancer Center and Department of Medicine, Howard University College of Medicine, 2041 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20060, USA

6 Department of Medicine, Monmouth Medical Center, Drexel University College of Medicine, Long Branch, NJ 07744, USA

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:296  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-296

Published: 28 April 2014



Gastric Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and colorectal polyps are more prevalent in African Americans than in the general population. We aimed to investigate whether gastric H. pylori infection is associated with colorectal polyps in African Americans.


Medical records of African Americans, 40 years and older (n = 1256) who underwent bidirectional gastrointestinal endoscopy on the same day were reviewed. H. pylori status was assessed by immunohistochemistry on gastric specimens. Colorectal polyps were confirmed by histological examination of colorectal biopsies. A subset of serum samples from healthy and polyp-bearing patients (n = 163) were analyzed by ELISA for anti-H. pylori and anti-CagA antibodies. The crude and adjusted effect of H. pylori on the risk of colorectal adenoma and polyp were computed by logistic regression models.


The prevalence of colorectal polyps and adenomas were 456 (36%) and 300 (24%) respectively. Colorectal polyps were more prevalent in gastric H. pylori infected than non-infected subjects [43% vs. 34%; Odds Ratio (OR) (95% CI): 1.5 (1.2-1.9), P = 0.001]. Patients with H. pylori-associated chronic active gastritis were at high risk to have adenomas [Unadjusted OR (95% CI): 1.3 (1.0-1.8); P = 0.04]. There was no difference in histopathology, size, or location of polyps with respect to H. pylori status. Gastric H. pylori infection, age, male gender and high risk clinical presentations were independent risk factors for colorectal polyps. Serological testing also revealed a higher prevalence of H. pylori and its toxin Cag-A in polyp patients vs. non polyp patients’ sera, although in a non-statistically significant manner.


This study showed that current gastric H. pylori infection is associated with an increased risk of colorectal polyps in African Americans. Patients with H. pylori induced gastritis may benefit from early screening colonoscopy as a preventative measure for colorectal cancer.

African Americans; H. pylori infection; Colorectal neoplasm; Gastric lesion; Risk factors; Forty year and older