Infection with Helicobacter pylori is associated with the development of gastric cancer. Although the prevalence of gastric cancer has declined throughout years due to improvement in early screening strategy, mortality due to gastric cancer has not changed. Incidence and mortality due to gastric cancer are higher in developing countries as compared to developed countries. Diagnosis and prognosis of gastric cancer are still poor with patients usually diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage. Eradication of H. pylori is pertinent for the prevention of gastric cancer. However, the rise in antimicrobial resistance among H. pylori isolates has complicated the prevention strategy. H. pylori express multiple virulence factors for survival in the hostile acid gastric environment. The expression of oncogenic protein cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA), vacuolating cytotoxin A (VacA), and outer inflammatory protein is essential for H. pylori to exert pathogenesis towards the host. Interestingly, <3% of H. pylori-infected subjects develop gastric cancer, suggesting a unique way of interaction between the host's immune response and H. pylori virulence factors. This article is aimed to review the epidemiology and role of H. pylori in gastric carcinogenesis. A better understanding of the interaction between H. pylori virulence factors and host is required for better gastric cancer prevention.© 2020 APMIS. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.