Genetics of Pancreatic Cancer

Inherited gene mutations play a role in up to 15% of all cancers of the pancreas. Family members of patients with pancreatic cancer may have a dramatically increased risk of developing the disease. It is now known that at least six distinct cancer syndromes account for a portion of inherited pancreatic cancers.

The first column in the chart below represents the conditions currently linked to pancreatic cancer. The second column represents the gene mutation(s) responsible for causing that condition. The third column describes the quantifiable increase in the relative risk of developing pancreatic cancer caused by these conditions and mutations. For example, if you or someone in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer caused by a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, your risk of developing pancreatic cancer is 10 times that of someone without a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Read more about BRCA mutations and pancreatic cancer here »

A family history of pancreatic cancer not related to these inherited gene mutations is also significant and increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer at least fivefold. 

It is important to note that having one of more of these conditions does not mean you will definitely develop pancreatic cancer. Also, many people who do develop pancreatic cancer do not have any of the conditions listed above. If you believe you are at increased risk for developing pancreatic cancer, it is important to discuss this with your doctor and to schedule a comprehensive medical visit including risk stratification.

Learn more about the Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention & Genetics Program of the Pancreas Center of Columbia University.

Request an Appointment or call us at 212-305-9467.