Five novel genetic changes linked to pancreatic cancer risk
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IMAGE: A Manhattan plot of the study results show taller peaks that denote genetic loci most significantly associated with pancreatic cancer risk. Green dots show the location of the new loci… view more 

Credit: Credit: Alison Klein, Ph.D., M.H.S.

In what is believed to be the largest pancreatic cancer genome-wide association study to date, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute, and collaborators from over 80 other institutions worldwide discovered changes to five new regions in the human genome that may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

The new findings represent one more step toward fully capturing all of the genetic changes that lead to pancreatic cancer risk. This is important because a better understanding of how pancreatic cancer develops could lead to more targeted treatments and methods of early detection screening, the researchers say. Pancreatic cancer is among the leading causes of cancer death in the U.S. and Europe and is expected to result in nearly 150,000 annual deaths by 2020.

The newly identified genetic variants–located on human chromosomes 1 (position 1p36.33), 7 (position 7p12), 8 (position 8q21.11), 17 (position 17q12) and 18 (position 18q21.32)–may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by

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