October 14, 2014
2 min read
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Familial pancreatic cancer increased risk for other malignancies in kindred

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Patients with familial pancreatic cancer were twice as likely to have a first-degree relative with an extra-pancreatic malignancy compared with patients with isolated cases of pancreatic cancer, according to study results.

Those with familial pancreatic cancer were more likely to have precursor lesions and were less likely to be smokers, results showed.

Andrew Biankin

Andrew Biankin, MBBS, PhD, of Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Center at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and colleagues sought to identify characteristics of familial pancreatic cancer — defined as cases of pancreatic cancer in which the patient had at least one other first-degree relative with the disease — that distinguished it from sporadic cases of pancreatic cancer.

The analysis included 766 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, 8.9% of whom (n=68) had familial pancreatic cancer.

Researchers determined median survival was comparable for patients with familial or sporadic pancreatic cancer regardless of whether they underwent resection (19.8 months vs. 17.4 months; P=.14) or did not undergo resection (7.2 months vs. 6.8 months; P=.61).

Mean age at diagnosis was similar between patients with familial or sporadic pancreatic cancer (65.8 years vs. 66 years; P=.89). However, the mean age of diagnosis was significantly younger in the next generation in the instance of parent-child familial pancreatic cancer (72.9 years vs. 60.6 years; P˂.0001).

A similar proportion of patients with familial or sporadic pancreatic cancer had a previously diagnosed malignancy (14.7% vs. 10.3%; P=.26).

Patients with familial pancreatic cancer were significantly more likely to have a first-degree relative with an extra-pancreatic malignancy (44.1% vs. 21.2%; P˂.0001).

First-degree relatives of patients with familial pancreatic cancer were significantly more likely to develop melanoma (8.8% vs. 0.6%; P˂.0001) or endometrial cancer (2.9% vs. 0.6%; P=.03) compared with first-degree relatives of patients with sporadic pancreatic cancer.

Researchers also noted patients with familial pancreatic cancer were more likely to have precursor lesions in their resected specimens (36.8% vs. 23.9%; P=.03) and were less likely to be active smokers at the time of diagnosis (8.8% vs. 28.2%; P=.0003) than patients with sporadic pancreatic cancer.

“These findings are important because they suggest that the genes we inherit from our parents likely play a significant role in our lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer,” Biankin said in a press release. “Secondly, they emphasize that when assessing someone’s individual risk of developing pancreatic cancer, it may be important to assess not just family history of pancreatic cancer but other malignancies, too. Finally, our data emphasize the importance of smoking abstinence.”

Disclosure: One researcher reports advisory board roles with and grants, honoraria and nonfinancial support from AstraZeneca, Novartis and Pfizer.