Gene identified in increasing pancreatic cancer risk

Mutations in the ATM gene may increase the hereditary risk for pancreatic cancer, according to data published in Cancer Discovery, the newest journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most morbid cancers, with less than 5 percent of those diagnosed with the disease surviving to five years. Approximately 10 percent of patients come from families with multiple cases of pancreatic cancer.

"There was significant reason to believe this clustering was due to genetics, but we had not, to this point, been able to find the that explained the cluster of pancreatic cancer for a majority of these families," said lead author Alison Klein, Ph.D., associate professor of oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and director of the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry.

Klein and colleagues used next-generation sequencing, including whole genome and whole exome analyses, and identified ATM gene mutations in two kindreds with familial pancreatic cancer.

When these initial findings were examined in a large series for patients, ATM mutations were present in four of 166 subjects with pancreatic cancer but were absent in 190 spousal control subsets.

Klein said that knowledge of the presence of the ATM gene could lead to better screening for pancreatic cancer, the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death. However, there are currently no recommended screening tests.

Many doctors use endoscopy as a for , but researchers are still evaluating this technique in clinical trials.

Related Stories

Abnormal DNA repair genes may predict pancreatic cancer risk

date Jan 15, 2009

Abnormalities in genes that repair mistakes in DNA replication may help identify people who are at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer, a research team from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports ...

Birth records hold pancreatic cancer clue

date Aug 16, 2007

Pregnancies in Jerusalem in the 1960s and 1970s may hold vital clues about how pancreatic cancer and diabetes are linked. According to research published in the online open access journal BMC Medicine, women with a history ...

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

date Jul 03, 2015

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

date Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

date Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.