A team from the USA evaluated whether a family history of pancreatic cancer increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in first-degree relatives. They also assessed smoking and younger age at cancer diagnosis further increase this risk.
247 patients ('case probands') with pancreatic cancer and 420 population-based control probands were interviewed. Risk factor data and pancreatic cancer family history for 1,816 first-degree relatives of the case probands and 3,157 first-degree relatives of the control probands was collected.
|Relative risk of pancreatic cancer:|
Positive family history: 2.5
|Journal of the National Cancer Institute|
The researchers found that a positive family history of pancreatic cancer (i.e. being related to a case proband) or ever-smoking cigarettes, approximately doubled the risk of pancreatic cancer (relative risk = 2.5 and 2.0, respectively).
The relative risk increased to 8.2 for relatives who ever smoked and were related to a case proband, who was diagnosed before 60 years of age.
Dr Maryjean Schenk, of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, Michigan, said on behalf of colleagues, "Routine questioning of patients about a family history of pancreatic cancer, the age of onset of this cancer in their relatives, and the patient's smoking status may identify individuals at high risk of pancreatic cancer."
"Future research exploring the genetic and environmental interactions associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer is critically important," she concluded.