cagA gene, the best known virulence factor of Helicobacter pylori, codes for an immunodominant CagA protein. In this study, CagA antibodies of the IgG class were measured by immunoblot or enzyme immunoassay in subjects with positive H. pylori serology, and the presence of CagA antibodies was compared with that of H. pylori antibodies of IgA and IgG classes. Serum samples were available for a total of 1,481 subjects, including gastroscopied patients with biopsy-verified H. pylori infection, smoking men with a normal or low serum pepsinogen I level indicating atrophic corpus gastritis, and subjects who later developed gastric cancer and their matched controls. CagA antibodies were significantly more prevalent among individuals with elevated H. pylori antibody titres of the IgA class than in those with IgG antibodies only, with the exception of a small subgroup of individuals who later developed gastric cancer. CagA-positive H. pylori strains seem to induce an immune response with a markedly higher frequency of IgA than what is found in inflammation caused by CagA-negative strains. The presence of serum IgA antibodies to H. pylori seems to indicate a higher risk for CagA-positive H. pylori infection and possibly more severe late sequelae of the disease.