Australian Familial Pancreatic Cancer Cohort
Can pancreatic cancer run in families?
The majority of pancreatic cancer cases are considered to be random, or 'sporadic' occurrences. However, having a family history of pancreatic cancer is one of the few known . It is estimated that 5-10% of all cases of pancreatic cancer are hereditary, or 'familial'. This suggests that some families carry a genetic predisposition to developing the disease. Although a number of susceptibility genes have been identified, the majority of genes responsible for familial pancreatic cancer remain unknown.
Having a family history of pancreatic cancer, or carrying a known susceptibility gene (e.g. BRCA2) can increase the chances of developing pancreatic cancer. If you are concerned about your risks, talk to your GP about obtaining a referral to your local .
What is AFPaCC?
AFPaCC is a registry for if individuals or families with a history of pancreatic cancer. AFPaCC was launched in 2011 and is supported by a Cancer Institute NSW research grant. AFPaCC targets the relatively small number of families who may be at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Collating family history and environmental data helps to further define risks for unaffected family members, and also identify individuals eligible for a pancreatic cancer screening trial. Collecting blood samples from family members and archival cancer tissue from affected relatives provides a valuable resource for genetic investigations into the inherited changes driving familial pancreatic cancer.
What are the goals of AFPaCC?
- Further understand pancreatic cancer risks in Australian families
- Identify genetic and non-genetic causes of pancreatic cancer
- Identify high risk individuals eligible for pancreatic cancer screening trials
Who can join AFPaCC?
Both men and women, with or without cancer and over the age of 18yrs, are invited to join this study if they are from a family:
- With multiple relatives on the same side diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
- Known to carry a gene mutation thought to be involved in pancreatic cancer (e.g. BRCA2)
- With a diagnosis of Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome or Hereditary Pancreatitis
- With one relative diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and a strong family history of other cancers on the same side.
What does AFPaCC participation involve?
It is easy to join the registry. The first step is to fill out the online request form with some brief details about yourself and your family history. The AFPaCC clinical coordinator will then contact you to discuss your eligibility. If you are not eligible for AFPaCC, it may be worthwhile signing up to our APGI newsletters to stay updated on the research progress.
If you are eligible and decide to participate, you will be asked to:
- Provide consent, which includes access to relevant medical records and archival tissue
- Complete a 30 minute questionnaire detailing personal health and family history
- Discuss the study with other family members, who may also be interested in participating
Some AFPaCC participants may also be asked if they are willing to:
- Provide a blood sample for the purpose of genetic studies
- Provide confirmation of diagnoses in affected relatives (if possible) or permission to access relevant medical records of deceased relatives
- Participate in a pancreatic cancer screening trial
As of October 2013, AFPaCC has enrolled 130 individuals, representing 82 different Australian families. The pancreatic cancer diagnosis in at least one family member has been confirmed for almost 50% of families. A blood or archival tissue samples for affected relatives has been sourced for 30% of AFPaCC families. Diagnosis confirmation and sample acquisition are important and ongoing AFPaCC processes.
It is important to keep the AFPaCC registry as accurate and up to date as possible. If you are already a participant, and have new and relevant information about yourself or family, please contact the AFPaCC coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
- Klein, AP. Identifying people at a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Nature Reviews, 13; 66-74 (2013)
- Bartsch, DK et al. Familial pancreatic cancer - current knowledge. Nature Reviews, 9; 445-453 (2012)
- Other pancreatic cancer family registries