Pancreatic Cancer: Am I at risk and what can I do about it?
Can pancreatic cancer run in families?
The majority of pancreatic cancer cases are considered to be random, or ‘sporadic’ occurrences. However, having a strong family history of pancreatic cancer is one of the few known risk factors. It is estimated that 5-10% of all cases of pancreatic cancer are hereditary. In some cases, this is attributed to established hereditary cancer syndromes, where a known cancer susceptibility gene is present in the family. However the underlying genetic cause in the majority of families remain unknown, and this is termed Familial Pancreatic Cancer (FPC). FPC is defined by family history and describes kindreds with at least one pair of first-degree relatives affected (i.e. parent-child or sibling relationship). The APGI recently published a summary on Inherited Pancreatic Cancer, which provides more detail around the different heritable aspects of pancreatic cancer. If you are concerned about your family history of pancreatic cancer, talk to your GP about obtaining a referral to your local Family Cancer Clinic. If you would like more information about inherited causes of pancreatic cancer, how to determine if you are at risk, and some options for pancreatic cancer screening, you can download our Pancreatic Cancer Factsheet.
The Australian Familial Pancreatic Cancer Cohort (AFPaCC)
A registry of families who are at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. A valuable resource for ongoing genetic investigations into the inherited changes driving familial pancreatic cancer.
The AFPaCC is a registry of families who may be at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. AFPaCC was launched in 2011 and has enrolled 298 individuals, representing 187 Australian families with reported family history of pancreatic cancer as of December 2016.Detailed demographic, risk factor, surveillance and personal and family history of malignancy data points have been collated for each AFPaCC participant. The pancreatic cancer diagnosis in at least one family member has been confirmed for almost 40% of families. The APGI has published data on the AFPaCC cohort in: Clinical and Pathological Features of Familial Pancreatic Cancer. AFPaCC also provided the foundation to initiate the first familial pancreatic cancer bioresource in Australia, by collecting bloods samples (DNA, serum, plasma) on high risk individuals undergoing regular surveillance and acquiring blood and/or archival tumour (FFPE) on affected relatives. These data and samples can be accessed via the APGI BioResource. AFPaCC collected detailed family history and environmental data via questionnaires to help to further define risks for unaffected family members, and also identified individuals eligible for a pancreatic cancer screening trial.