IS PANCREATIC CANCER HEREDITARY?

 PANCREATIC CANCER is a genetic disease which means that it is caused by changes (mutations) in DNA. These changes can be inherited (we are born with them) or they can be acquired (they develop after we are born).

  1. Familial breast cancer gene(BRCA2)
    BRCA2 was the second familial breast cancer gene identified. It was discovered in 1995 because of a remarkable advance made by the Hopkins team studying pancreatic cancer.
  2. More recently, the team at Johns Hopkins discovered that inherited mutations in PALB2 (partner and localizer of BRCA2), a gene that functions together with BRCA2, cause about 3% of familial pancreatic cancer, and other groups have found that inherited mutations in the first breast cancer gene, BRCA1, may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

3:Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
This is a very rare hereditary syndrome in which affected family members develop polyps in their small intestines and pigmented spots on their lips and inside of their mouth. These polyps are masses of tissue that protrude from the normal surface of the intestine.

4:Familial melanoma
The Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome is a rare hereditary syndrome in which affected family members develop skin moles and melanomas (an aggressive form of skin cancer).

5:Hereditary colon cancer
The Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) syndrome, also known as Lynch syndrome, strikes as many as 1 in 200 individuals and it is characterized by the inherited predisposition to develop colon cancer, endometrial (uterine) cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer.

6:Hereditary pancreatitis
This rare disease is characterized by the development of recurrent episodes of severe chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) starting at an early age (often in patients in their teens).

7:Ataxia telangiectasia
The team at Johns Hopkins discovered that inherited mutations in the ATM gene also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. Inherited mutations in ATM are known to cause the clinical syndrome of “ataxia telangiectasia,” and 2-3% of people with familial pancreatic cancer inherited a defective (mutant) copy of theATM gene.

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