Review Paper

Human Genetics

, Volume 126, Issue 5, pp 615-628

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Nature meets nurture: molecular genetics of gastric cancer

  • Anya N. MilneAffiliated withPathology Department H04.2.25, University Medical Centre Utrecht Email author 
  • , F. CarneiroAffiliated withInstitute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology, University of Porto (IPATIMUP)Medical Faculty, Hospital S. João
  • , C. O’MorainAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology, Adelaide and Meath Hospital
  • , G. J. A. OfferhausAffiliated withPathology Department H04.2.25, University Medical Centre UtrechtDepartment of Pathology, Academic Medical Centre


The immensity of genes and molecules implicated in gastric carcinogenesis is overwhelming and the relevant importance of some of these molecules is too often unclear. This review serves to bring us up-to-date with the latest findings as well as to look at the larger picture in terms of how to tackle the problem of solving this multi-piece puzzle. In this review, the environmental nurturing of intestinal cancer is discussed, beginning with epidemiology (known causative factors for inducing molecular change), an update of H. pylori research, including the role of inflammation and stem cells in premalignant lesions. The role of E-cadherin in the nature (genotype) of diffuse gastric cancer is highlighted, and finally the ever growing discipline of SNP analysis (including IL1B) is discussed.