Bacteria, Cancer, and GERD

This article caught my eye because I know people that have had to deal with this health problem.  My concern is about the over use of acid blocking drugs which are known to lead to cancer and also to reduction of hydrochloric (HCl) acid in your stomach. 

The acid problem is of concern because it may really be with reflux that you do not have enough stomach acid.  This is very true as you age and also if you are taking too many prescribed drugs (Are you prescribed an acid blocker for all your Rx?)

Acid blocking drugs also create a risk for infection and illness because of the reduced HCl, something that is part of your immune system.  Get sick too often when on these drugs?  Get food poisoning?

Do you have a wheat allergy?  The connection between Barret's and wheat allergy has been well established for decades.

Many things to consider -
Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Jul 1;45(1):29-38. Epub 2007 May 22.

Microbial colonization of the upper gastrointestinal tract in patients with Barrett's esophagus.


Dundee University Gut Group, Ninewells Hospital Medical School, Dundee, United Kingdom.



Barrett's esophagus (BE) is a complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease, in which patients are at greatly increased risk of esophageal dysplasia and adenocarcinoma. Over the past 2 decades, there has been an increase in the incidence of both BE and adenocarcinoma; however, the involvement of microorganisms in BE is uncertain. The aim of this study was to characterize microbial communities in esophageal aspirate specimens and on distal esophageal mucosal samples from patients with BE.


Biopsy and aspirate specimens were obtained by endoscopic examination from 7 patients with BE and 7 control subjects without BE. Samples were cultured under aerobic, anaerobic, and microaerophilic conditions for yeasts and bacteria, including Helicobacter pylori. Bacterial isolates were identified by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. Fluorescence microscopic examination was also used to determine the spatial localization of these organisms on mucosal surfaces. Significant colonization was detected in 6 patients with BE and in 4 control subjects.


Overall, 46 bacterial species belonging to 16 genera were detected, with 10 species being common in both groups. Both aspirate and biopsy samples from patients with BE contained complex populations of bacteria. Uniquely, high levels of Campylobacter species (Campylobacter concisus and Campylobacter rectus), which have been linked to enteritis, periodontal infections, and tumor formation in animals, were found in 4 (57%) of 7 patients with BE but in none of the control subjects. Microscopic examination revealed that bacteria on mucosal biofilms often occurred in microcolonies.


The occurrence of nitrate-reducing Campylobacter species in patients with BE may suggest that there is a link in either the initiation, maintenance, or exacerbation of disease processes leading to adenocarcinoma formation.

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