Antibiotic treatment can be beneficial in the early stages of gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma -- a type of cancer that originates in the glandular tissue outside of the lymphatic system -- according to research published in the British medical journal Gut.

In the study, six patients with localized gastric MALT lymphoma underwent antibiotic treatment with clarithromycin, metronidazole, and pantoprazole. Different types of evaluation -- including endosonography plus gastroscopy, computed tomography of the thorax and abdomen, colonoscopy, magnetic resonance imaging of the salivary glands, and bone marrow biopsy -- were performed to rule out the spread of the disease. MALT-specific genetic changes, including reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, were monitored in all patients.

Five patients responded with lymphoma regression between three and nine months after the antibiotic treatment. Only one patient had stable disease for 12 months, and was then referred for chemotherapy, noted the study.