Six Genes Determined to Be 'Clearly Linked' to Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Previous epidemiologic studies have shown a temporal association between diabetes and pancreatic cancer, and these studies have demonstrated that patients who have recent-onset diabetes have a higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Researchers say the findings are significant because they represent a potential new way to diagnose pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage. These genetic mutations were identified in 5.5 percent of all pancreatic cancer patients, including 5.2 percent of cancer patients without a family history of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer following incident diabetes in African Americans and Latinos: the Multiethnic Cohort [published online June 18, 2018.] J Natl Cancer Inst. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djy090. Researchers found the genetic mutations in both patients with, and without, a family history of the disease - therefore urging genetic testing for all patients as a new standard of care. "Our findings strongly support the hypothesis that recent-onset diabetes is a effect of pancreatic cancer and that long-standing diabetes is a risk factor for this cancer". - Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer can develop elevated blood sugar levels up to three years before their cancer diagnosis, according to the results of a study by Mayo Clinic researchers published the journal Gastroenterology. This is the primary study to offer approximates on the immensity of cancer risk related with each gene. "It indicates that family history alone can not predict who has these mutations". But, lead researcher Fergus Couch, PhD, consultant at the department of laboratory medicine and pathology at the Mayo Clinic, told Cancer Therapy Advisor that his team's results would not likely have changed had the group used whole-genome sequencing "because it is unlikely that any of the additional genes would be associated with pancreatic cancer risk".

Genetic testing was conducted on 3,030 pancreatic patients who were seen at Mayo Clinic between 2000 and 2016. Therefore the true survival for PDAC appeared better than it really is; the most recent statistics for England having shown a five-year survival rate of less than seven percent of patients. The study found six genes clearly linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer: BRCA1, BRCA2, CDKN2A, TP53, MLH1 and ATM. However, if genetic evaluation is executed only on patients with a family history of pancreatic cancer then a meager number of patients can be assisted.

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In addition to linking six distinct genes to the disease, researchers found that a prior family history of pancreatic cancer alone can not predict the presence of cancer-associated germline mutations. Qiagen Sciences Inc. designed the DNA testing for this research. Identification of people with high risk and the ability to detect pancreatic cancer early can improve treatment outcomes.

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