A Snapshot of Stomach Cancer
Incidence and Mortality
The overall incidence and mortality of stomach cancer in the United States have declined in the past 35 years. In 2013, it is estimated that 21,600 Americans will be diagnosed with stomach cancer and 10,990 will die of the disease.
The incidence and mortality rates of stomach cancer vary by race/ethnicity and by sex. Incidence rates are much lower among whites than among other U.S. racial/ethnic groups. Incidence rates are highest in American Indians/Alaska Natives, followed by Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and African Americans. Mortality rates are highest in Asians/Pacific Islanders and African Americans, followed by Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and whites. Stomach cancer incidence and mortality rates are higher in men than in women.
Risk factors for stomach cancer include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, certain medical and genetic conditions, smoking, family history of stomach cancer, obesity, a diet high in salt or in smoked foods, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables. There is no standard or routine screening test for stomach cancer. Standard treatments for stomach cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.
It is estimated that approximately $1.8 billion1 is spent in the United States each year on stomach cancer treatment.
Examples of NCI Activities Relevant to Stomach Cancer
- NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) conducts epidemiologic research on stomach cancer, including research on how environmental factors, genetic factors, and Epstein-Barr virus infection affect stomach cancer risk.
- The interdisciplinary scientists of the Network for Translational Research (NTR): Optical Imaging in Multimodality Platforms are accelerating translational research in optical imaging. Efforts include the development of techniques to identify molecular probes for detecting neoplasia in the digestive tract and multimodal imaging of gastrointestinal cancers, including stomach cancer.
- The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers are systematically identifying the major genomic changes involved in more than 20 cancers using state-of-the-art genomic analysis technologies. TCGA researchers hope to identify specific gene changes linked to H. pylori infection, to different stages of stomach cancer, and to different subtypes of stomach cancer.
- Supportive and Palliative Care Clinical Trials explore ways to manage the physical, psychological, and emotional side effects of cancer and cancer therapies and include trials for patients undergoing treatment for stomach cancer.
- The Tumor Microenvironment Network (TMEN) is exploring the role of the microenvironment—the cells and blood vessels that feed a tumor—in tumor initiation and progression. Network investigators are studying the role of cancer-associated fibroblasts in digestive cancers, including stomach cancer.
- Eight gastrointestinal-cancer-specific Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) focus on translational research in the gastrointestinal system.
Selected Advances in Stomach Cancer Research
- Analysis of data from the HIV/AIDS Cancer Match Study revealed that carcinomas and non-Hodgkin lymphomas of the esophagus and stomach are among the cancers whose risk is increased in people with AIDS. Published July 2012. [PubMed Abstract]
- Iron deficiency in rodents and humans was associated with increased H. pylori virulence and is a potential biomarker for the identification of H. pylori-infected individuals who are at high risk for developing gastric cancer. Published December 2012. [PubMed Abstract]
- A 1-year follow-up analysis of participants in a clinical trial of H. pylori eradication programs for the prevention of gastric cancer found that the risk of reinfection after eradication may depend as much on the patient's adherence to initial therapy, study site, gender, and age as on the antibiotic regimen. Published February 2013. [PubMed Abstract]
- Sixty-five H. pylori strains isolated from asymptomatic individuals and patients with gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and gastric cancer were genomically characterized, creating an important resource for future investigations into strain-specific gastric pathologies. Published May 2013. [PubMed Abstract]
- See this PubMed list of selected free full-text journal articles on NCI-supported research relevant to stomach cancer. You can also search PubMed for additional scientific articles or to complete a search tutorial.
Trends in NCI Funding for Stomach Cancer Research
The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) investment2 in stomach cancer research increased from $12.4 million in fiscal year (FY) 2008 to $15.4 million in FY 2009 before decreasing to $12.1 million in FY 2012. In addition to this funding, NCI supported $2.2 million in stomach cancer research in FY 2009 and FY 2010 using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Additional Resources for Stomach Cancer
- What You Need To Know About™ Stomach Cancer
Describes possible risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for someone recently diagnosed with stomach cancer.
- NCI Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Home Page
Information about stomach (gastric) cancer treatment, prevention, causes, screening, clinical trials, research and statistics from the National Cancer Institute.
- Helicobacter pylori and Cancer Fact Sheet
A fact sheet about the relationship between H. pylori infection and gastric cancer, gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma, and other cancers.
- Gastric Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)
Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of stomach cancer.
- Clinical Trials for Stomach Cancer