Increased Incidence and Mortality of Gastric Cancer in Immigrant Populations from High to Low Regions of Incidence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Academic Article


  • Background & Aims: Gastric cancer is the leading cause of infection-related cancer death and the third-leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The effect of immigration on gastric cancer risk is not well-defined but might be helpful for screening or surveillance endeavors. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to define the risk of gastric cancer in immigrants from high-incidence regions to low-incidence regions (including Western Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, and the United States). Methods: We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE databases, from January 1980 to January 2019, for studies that identified immigrants from high-incidence regions of gastric cancer, provided clear definitions of immigrant and reference populations, and provided sufficient data to calculate gastric cancer incidence and gastric cancer-related mortality. We performed meta-analyses of standardized incidence ratios (SIR) for first-generation immigrants from high- to low-incidence regions, stratified by immigrant generation, sex, and anatomic and histologic subtype, when data were available. Results: We identified 38 cohort studies that met our inclusion criteria. All 13 studies of 21 distinct populations reported significantly increased SIRs for gastric cancer in first-generation foreign-born immigrants (men SIR range, 1.24–4.50 and women SIR range, 1.27–5.05). The pooled SIR for immigrants with all types of gastric cancer was 1.66 (95% CI, 1.52–1.80) for men and 1.83 (95% CI, 1.69–1.98) for women. Nine studies from 2 high-incidence populations (the former Soviet Union and Japan) reported an increased gastric cancer standardized mortality ratio in first-generation immigrants who migrated to regions of low incidence (former Soviet Union immigrants, 1.44–1.91 for men and 1.40–2.56 for women). Conclusions: Immigrants from regions with a high incidence of gastric cancer to regions of low incidence maintain a higher risk of gastric cancer and related mortality, based on a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis. Assessment of immigrant generation along with other risk factors might help identify high-risk populations for prevention and therapeutic interventions.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pabla BS; Shah SC; Corral JE; Morgan DR
  • Start Page

  • 347
  • End Page

  • 359.e5
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 2