Brusselaers N, Wahlin K, Engstrand L, Lagergren J
BMJ Open 7 (10) e017739 [2017-10-30; online 2017-10-30]
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the most commonly prescribed drugs. Concerns have been raised about a potentially increased risk of gastric cancer following long-term use. Our aim is to assess the risk of gastric cancer associated with PPI use, taking into account underlying indications. This is a population-based cohort study. Standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) and 95% CIs were calculated to compare the risk of gastric cancer among long-term PPI users with the corresponding background population, while taking confounding by indication into account. Population-based study in Sweden (2005-2012). This study included virtually all adults residing in Sweden exposed to maintenance therapy with PPIs. Maintenance use of PPIs, defined as at least 180 days during the study period. Maintenance use of histamine 2 receptor antagonist was evaluated for comparison reasons. Gastric cancer (cardia and non-cardia), and subgroup analysis for gastric adenocarcinoma, as defined by the Swedish Cancer Registry. Among 797 067 individuals on maintenance PPI therapy, the SIR of gastric cancer was over threefold increased (SIR=3.38, 95% CI 3.23 to 3.53). Increased SIRs were found in both sexes and all age groups, but were especially increased among PPI users younger than 40 years (SIR=22.76, 95% CI 15.94 to 31.52). Increased SIRs were found for each indication studied, including those without an association with gastric cancer, for example, gastro-oesophageal reflux (SIR=3.04, 95% CI 2.80 to 3.31), and those with a supposedly decreased risk, for example, aspirin users (SIR=1.93, 95% CI 1.70 to 2.18). The association was similar for cardia and non-cardia gastric cancer. Analyses restricted to adenocarcinoma showed similar results to those for all gastric cancers. Long-term users of histamine 2 receptor antagonists, which have the same indications as PPIs, were not at any increased risk. Long-term PPI use might be an independent risk factor for gastric cancer. This challenges broad maintenance PPI therapy, particularly if the indication is weak.