ROCHESTER, Minn. — Six genes contain mutations that may be passed down in families, substantially increasing a person’s risk for pancreatic cancer. That’s according to Mayo Clinic research published in the June 19 edition of the JAMA. However, because researchers found these genetic mutations in patients with no family history of pancreatic cancer, they are recommending genetic testing for all pancreatic cancer patients as the new standard of care.
Currently, health care providers offer genetic testing only to pancreatic cancer patients with a family history of the disease. That accounts for just 10 percent of all pancreatic cancer cases. Research suggests these testing guidelines miss genetic predisposition to cancer in up to 90 percent of pancreatic cancer patients with no family history. This finding is significant in part because the data suggest that family members should have DNA testing to understand their risk for cancer.
“This study provides the most comprehensive data to date supporting genetic testing for all pancreatic cancer patients,” say Fergus Couch, Ph.D., a senior author on the study. “This is the first study to provide estimates on the magnitude of cancer risk associated with each gene. It indicates that family history alone cannot predict who
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