Gene Mutation May Be Key to Familial Pancreatic
THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals may face a
higher hereditary risk for developing pancreatic cancer if they
carry abnormalities in the so-called "ATM" gene, new research
The finding, reported in an upcoming issue of
Cancer Discovery, stems from genetic-sequencing work conducted among 166 pancreatic cancer patients. For comparative purposes, 190 other individuals who did not have pancreatic cancer also underwent sequencing.
The study was led by Alison Klein, an associate professor of
oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns
Hopkins and director of the National Familial Pancreas Tumor
Noting that 10 percent of pancreatic cancer patients are from
families in which more than one member has battled the disease,
Klein pointed out in a news release from the American Association
for Cancer Research that "there was significant reason to believe
this clustering was due to genetics."
But she added that no previous effort had "been able to find the
causative genes that explained the cluster of pancreatic cancer for
a majority of these families."
Among the pancreatic cancer patients examined, four were found
to have the ATM gene mutation. By contrast, none of the healthy
individuals who were sequenced carried the abnormality, according
to the report.
Ultimately, the finding could lead to the development of a new
screening option for a disease that kills 95 percent of patients
within five years of diagnosis, according to the release. Though
endoscopy is under study as another possible screening tool, there
are as yet no other recommended screening alternatives for the
number four cause of cancer-related death.
For more on pancreatic cancer, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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