Although candidate genes for hereditary pancreatic cancer have been identified (Figure 1), namely p16 and BRCA2, pancreatic cancer patients having an inherited predisposition will not be easy to recognize on clinical grounds.
This special series on cancer and genetics is compiled and edited by Henry T. Lynch, MD, director of the Hereditary Cancer Institute, professor of medicine, and chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Creighton University School of Medicine, and director of the Creighton Cancer Center, Omaha, Nebraska. Part I of this three-part series on pancreatic cancer appeared in June 1997. Part II (below) reviews the gene mutations thought to contribute to the development of hereditary pancreatic cancer, and Part III will explores the clinical recognition of a hereditary predisposition to pancreatic cancer.
Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It has a lifetime incidence of approximately one in 150 persons in the United States and a male-to-female ratio of approximately 1.3 to 1.