Familial Pancreatic Cancer Linked To Increased Melanoma and Endometrial Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeremy L. Humphris MBBS

The Kinghorn Cancer Center, Cancer Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia and

Andrew V. Biankin
Regius Professor of Surgery
Director, Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre,
University of Glasgow
Garscube Estate, Switchback Road, Bearsden, Glasgow Scotland
United Kingdom

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Response: Familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) is a family with at least 2 first degree (parent-child or siblings) with pancreatic cancer. We found these patients represent nearly 9% of our cohort. In addition we found those with familial pancreatic cancer were more likely to have other first degree relatives with a history of extra-pancreatic cancer, in particular melanoma and endometrial cancer. Patients with familial pancreatic cancer had more high grade precursor lesions in the pancreas adjacent to the tumour but the outcome was similar. Smoking was more prevalent in sporadic pancreatic cancer and active smoking was associated with significantly younger age at diagnosis in both groups. Long-standing diabetes mellitus (> 2 years duration) was associated with poorer survival in both groups.

Medical Research: What was most surprising about the results?

Response: We were surprised that nearly twice as many familial pancreatic cancer patients (43%) reported an extra-pancreatic malignancy in a close relative, than sporadic PC patients (22%). In addition a significant proportion of familial pancreatic cancer kindreds shows significantly earlier disease diagnosis in offspring of affected parents. This may be consistent with anticipation, as has been shown by other groups.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Familial pancreatic cancer represents a significant proportion of pancreatic cancer. The risk of malignancy may not be confined to the pancreas and extra-pancreatic malignancies in close relatives could provide additional support of an inherited predisposition to cancer. Active smoking is associated with significant younger age at diagnosis and abstinence is recommended.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: A better understanding of the clinical features of genetically at-risk individuals will help us identify susceptibility genes as well as those who might benefit from genetic counseling and screening for detection of early disease.


Humphris, J. L., Johns, A. L., Simpson, S. H., Cowley, M. J., Pajic, M., Chang, D. K., Nagrial, A. M., Chin, V. T., Chantrill, L. A., Pinese, M., Mead, R. S., Gill, A. J., Samra, J. S., Kench, J. G., Musgrove, E. A., Tucker, K. M., Spigelman, A. D., Waddell, N., Grimmond, S. M., Biankin, A. V. and the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (2014), Clinical and pathologic features of familial pancreatic cancer. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.28863