The findings from previously published studies have suggested that radiation exposure is associated with increased mortality and incidence of gastric cancer. However, few cohort studies have incorporated risk factors such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection or chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG). The current study is aimed at evaluating the modifying effect of CAG on radiation risk of noncardia gastric cancer by histological type, by reanalyzing data from a nested case–control study conducted within the longitudinal clinical cohort of atomic bomb survivors. The analysis was restricted to 297 intestinal- or diffuse-type noncardia cases and 873 controls rematched to the cases on gender, age, city, and time and type of serum storage, and countermatched on radiation dose. Multivariable-adjusted relative risks [95% confidence interval (CI)] of noncardia gastric cancer were 3.9 (2.1–7.2) for H. pylori IgG seropositivity with cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA) IgG low titer, 2.6 (1.9–3.6) for CAG, 1.9 (1.3–2.8) for current smoking, and 1.4 (1.1–1.9) for 1 Gy irradiation. Among subjects without CAG, the relative risk (95% CI) of noncardia gastric cancer at 1 Gy was 2.3 (1.4–3.7), whereas relative risk (95% CI) at 1 Gy was 1.1 (0.8–1.5) among subjects with CAG (for the overall interaction, P = 0.012). By histological type, the risk at 1 Gy was high for diffuse type without CAG, with adjusted relative risk (95% CI) of 3.8 (2.0–7.6), but was not high for diffuse type with CAG or for intestinal-type irrespective of CAG status. The results indicate that radiation exposure is associated with increased risk of diffuse-type noncardia gastric cancer without CAG, and this association exists despite adjustment for H. pylori infection and smoking habit.

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