Study supports genetic testing for pancreatic cancer

Forefront, Mayo Clinic

Six genes contain mutations that may be passed down in families, substantially increasing the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to Mayo Clinic research published in JAMA.

However, because researchers found these genetic mutations in patients with no family history of pancreatic cancer, they are recommending genetic testing for all patients with pancreatic cancer as the new standard of care.

Currently, health care providers offer genetic testing only to patients with pancreatic cancer with a family history of the disease. That accounts for just 10 percent of all cases of pancreatic cancer.

Research suggests that these testing guidelines miss genetic predisposition to cancer in up to 90 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer who have no family history of the disease. This finding is significant in part because the data suggest that family members should have DNA testing to understand their risk of cancer. Read more …