Pancreatic Cancer Screening Study

This project studies the inherited causes of pancreatic cancer. The goal is to identify genes, which can be used to evaluate family members who may be at higher risk for the disease. This information could lead to the development of early detection methods and therapeutic strategies for these individuals.

The Pancreas Cancer Screening Study started at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network in Toronto began in 2003. The goal of this study was to determine the effectiveness of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for the early detection of pancreatic cancer. Researchers look specifically for the most common type of pancreatic cancer, called adenocarcinoma. Each participant is asked to return annually for a transabdominal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas and to provide a blood sample for biomarker studies. As of January 2009, the use of abdominal ultrasound was discontinued as findings proved that ultrasound did not detect potentially important pancreas lesions (abnormal changes) that had been identified on MRI.

Participants in this study consist of groups considered to be at a higher risk. These participants include those with BRCA1, BRCA2, P16, gene mutations, familial atypical multiple mole melanoma (FAMMM), Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome (PJS), those with hereditary pancreatitis, and most importantly, those with a specific family history of pancreas cancer - 2 or more members from the same side of a family - familial pancreas cancer (FPC).

Researchers are developing a "biobank" of blood and tumors from patients and linking it to clinical outcomes. This will allow scientists to look for new blood markers that might be useful as screening tests as well as to better understand why some patients have better outcomes than others.

Dr. Steven Gallinger's Report - Is Pancreatic Cancer Inherited? - PDF

Pancreas Cancer Screening Study Overview - PDF

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