Lynch Syndrome, an inherited cause of colorectal cancer that also increases the risk of several other types of cancer, results in a risk of pancreatic cancer that is several times higher than the risk in the general population. These results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Lynch Syndrome is also known as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). It results from inherited mutations in genes involved in DNA mismatch repair. These mutations greatly increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer and also increase the risk of several other cancers.
Average age at diagnosis of colorectal cancer is 44 years in individuals with an HNPCC mutation compared with 64 years in the general population. Other cancers that are more common in families with Lynch Syndrome include cancers of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), ovary, small intestine, ureter, and renal pelvis.
Pancreatic cancer may also be more common in families with Lynch Syndrome, but the risk has been uncertain. To explore the frequency of pancreatic cancer in families with Lynch Syndrome, researchers evaluated information from 6,342 individuals from 147 families with Lynch Syndrome.
- 21% of the families reported at least one case of pancreatic cancer.
- The risk of pancreatic cancer in families with Lynch Syndrome was 1.31% by the age of 50 and 3.68% by the age of 70. This risk is more than eight times higher than the risk in the general U.S. population.
The results of this study confirm that Lynch Syndrome is linked with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer and provide estimates regarding the lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer among affected family members.
Reference: Kastrinos F, Mukherjee B, Tayob N et al. Risk of pancreatic cancer in families with Lynch Syndrome. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;302:1790-1795.
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