Assessment of Serum Pepsinogens with and without Co-Testing with Gastrin-17 in Gastric Cancer Risk Assessment—Results from the GISTAR Pilot Study

Claudia Robles (Coresponding Author), Dace Rudzite, Inese Polaka, Olga Sjomina, Lilian Tzivian, Ilze Kikuste, Ivars Tolmanis, Aigars Vanags, Sergejs Isajevs, Inta Liepniece-Karele, Danute Razuka-Ebela, Sergej Parshutin, Raul Murillo, Rolando Herrero, Jin Young Park, Marcis Leja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction––Serum pepsinogen tests for gastric cancer screening have been debated for decades. We assessed the performance of two pepsinogen assays with or without gastrin-17 for the detection of different precancerous lesions alone or as a composite endpoint in a Latvian cohort. Methods––Within the intervention arm of the GISTAR population-based study, participants with abnormal pepsinogen values by ELISA or latex-agglutination tests, or abnormal gastrin-17 by ELISA and a subset of subjects with all normal biomarker values were referred for upper endoscopy with biopsies. Performance of biomarkers, corrected by verification bias, to detect five composite outcomes based on atrophy, intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia or cancer was explored. Results––Data from 1045 subjects were analysed, of those 273 with normal biomarker results. Both pepsinogen assays showed high specificity (>93%) but poor sensitivity (range: 18.4–31.1%) that slightly improved when lesions were restricted to corpus location (40.5%) but decreased when dysplasia and prevalent cancer cases were included (23.8%). Adding gastrin-17 detection, sensitivity reached 33–45% while specificity decreased (range: 61.1–62%) and referral rate for upper endoscopy increased to 38.6%. Conclusions––Low sensitivity of pepsinogen assays is a limiting factor for their use in population-based primary gastric cancer screening, however their high specificity could be useful for triage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1746
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • gastric cancer prevention
  • gastrin-17
  • public health
  • screening
  • serum pepsinogens

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine
  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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