On the basis of a previous report of increased chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) risk following peptic ulcer, we hypothesized that chronic Helicobacter pylori infection could serve as a risk factor for CML.
In a population-based, retrospective case-control study, we used Swedish registry data on 980 patients with CML and 4,960 age- and sex-matched controls to investigate associations between markers of previous infection with Helicobacter pylori and CML incidence.
Previous diagnoses of dyspepsia, gastritis or peptic ulcers, as well as previous proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication, were all associated with a significantly increased risk of CML (RRs, 1.5-2.0; P = 0.0005-0.05). Meanwhile, neither inflammatory bowel disease nor intake of NSAIDs were associated with CML, indicating that it is not gastrointestinal ulcer or inflammation per se that influences risk.
The consistent associations suggest a shared background between gastric conditions and CML, and strengthen the case that Helicobacter pylori could constitute this common risk factor.
As the etiology of CML is practically unknown, and Helicobacter pylori could potentially be a therapeutic target, even this indirect evidence encourages further studies on the potential involvement of Helicobacter pylori in CML etiology.