Background: Gastric adenocarcinoma is the fourth most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. Despite abundant traces of an ancient history, the comprehension of its pathogenic mechanisms is rather recent and continuously updated. Methods: We investigated about how the ancient civilizations tried to understand the exactly physiopathology of gastric cancer, from the time when they could not examine deeply the histological and pathophysiologic aspects of the disease, but they just based their knowledge on a visual analysis of the signs and consequences of such disease. We examined the historical evolving knowledge of the disease along the centuries on the gastroenterological, pharmacological, and surgical fields, defining how gastric cancer became an increasingly curable disease. Results: Cancer was known in the ancient world. Ancient people did not know exactly the causes but the climatic, hygienic, and food conditions were the first to be considered over time, also taking into consideration supernatural negative influences. During the Renaissance, a tumultuous time of scientific discoveries started, thanks to an increasing number of autopsies made on cadavers and to the progressions in visual analysis of the stomach mucosa throughout endoscopy. From the first gastric surgery in 1879, many steps forward have been made and, today, gastric cancer is regarded as a more curable disease; one important discovery in this field has been the revelation of the role of Helicobacter pylori in the peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and in some forms of gastric lymphoma. Conclusions: Gastric cancer has the fourth highest incidence of various cancers worldwide and is ranked second as a cause of cancer-related death. It exists from the antiquity and a lot of hypotheses have been developed about its etiology during the centuries, influencing its therapy. During the 20th century, thanks to the scientific and technological progresses the causes of the cancer have been discovered and the role of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori has been demonstrated, and new perspective research are currently trying to investigate the role of other microorganisms in gastric physiopathology, as well as its possible modulation by probiotics.

Gastric Cancer in History: A Perspective Interdisciplinary Study

Skender Topi
Investigation
;
Luigi Santacroce
Investigation
;
Andrea Ballini
Data Curation
;
Gianna Dipalma
Visualization
;
Francesco Inchingolo
Funding Acquisition
2020

Abstract

Background: Gastric adenocarcinoma is the fourth most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. Despite abundant traces of an ancient history, the comprehension of its pathogenic mechanisms is rather recent and continuously updated. Methods: We investigated about how the ancient civilizations tried to understand the exactly physiopathology of gastric cancer, from the time when they could not examine deeply the histological and pathophysiologic aspects of the disease, but they just based their knowledge on a visual analysis of the signs and consequences of such disease. We examined the historical evolving knowledge of the disease along the centuries on the gastroenterological, pharmacological, and surgical fields, defining how gastric cancer became an increasingly curable disease. Results: Cancer was known in the ancient world. Ancient people did not know exactly the causes but the climatic, hygienic, and food conditions were the first to be considered over time, also taking into consideration supernatural negative influences. During the Renaissance, a tumultuous time of scientific discoveries started, thanks to an increasing number of autopsies made on cadavers and to the progressions in visual analysis of the stomach mucosa throughout endoscopy. From the first gastric surgery in 1879, many steps forward have been made and, today, gastric cancer is regarded as a more curable disease; one important discovery in this field has been the revelation of the role of Helicobacter pylori in the peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and in some forms of gastric lymphoma. Conclusions: Gastric cancer has the fourth highest incidence of various cancers worldwide and is ranked second as a cause of cancer-related death. It exists from the antiquity and a lot of hypotheses have been developed about its etiology during the centuries, influencing its therapy. During the 20th century, thanks to the scientific and technological progresses the causes of the cancer have been discovered and the role of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori has been demonstrated, and new perspective research are currently trying to investigate the role of other microorganisms in gastric physiopathology, as well as its possible modulation by probiotics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/255939
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