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Original research
Risk stratifying gastric ulcers: development and validation of a scoring system


Objective Debate is ongoing regarding the need for universal endoscopic follow-up to ensure gastric ulcer healing. We aimed to assess the value of follow-up oesophago-gastro-duodenoscopies (OGDs) for gastric ulcer healing and stratify patients according to risk of malignancy by developing a risk score.

Design/method All patients in National Health Service (NHS) Lothian with an index OGD and a diagnosis of gastric ulcer between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2018 were identified. Data were analysed with logistic regression to identify factors significantly associated with a diagnosis of cancer; a risk score was derived and externally validated.

Results 778 patients were identified and 60.3% (469/778) of patients had a follow-up OGD. 8.6% (66/778) of patients were diagnosed with cancer. No cases of cancer were found on follow-up OGD of a benign appearing ulcer with negative biopsies. Macroscopic suspicion of malignancy was present at index OGD in 100% (3/3) of those diagnosed with cancer on subsequent OGDs. Older age (p=0.014), increased ulcer size (p<0.001) and non-antral location (p=0.030) were significantly associated with malignancy. A risk score (area under the curve (AUC) 0.868, p<0.001, minimum score=0, maximum score=6) was derived from these variables. 78.0% of patients with malignant ulcers scored ≥3, only 15.8% with benign ulcers scored ≥3 (negative predictive value (NPV) 97.4%). External validation yielded an AUC of 0.862 (p<0.001) and NPV of 98.6%; 84.0% of those with malignant ulcers scored ≥3.

Conclusion Ulcers with a combination of macroscopically benign appearances, at least six negative biopsies and a low risk score do not necessarily need endoscopic follow-up.

  • gastrointestinal cancer
  • gastric and duodenal ulcers
  • gastrointesinal endoscopy

Data availability statement

Deidentified data available on request via corresponding author.

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