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March 1994

Genetics and Pancreatic Cancer

Arch Surg. 1994;129(3):266-268. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1994.01420270042009

PANCREATICncer poses a formidable public health problem. It has been increasing in frequency and has a dismal prognosis, as evidenced by the fact that its mortality rate closely approximates its incidence. The disease is almost always diagnosed when it is too far advanced for surgical cure. Cancers of this type warrant priority etiologic research in the interest of developing improved strategies for their control.

Cigarette smoking is the only environmental risk factor that has been consistently associated with pancreatic cancer.1,2 There are several hereditary disorders that predispose to pancreatic cancer. These include hereditary pancreatitis (autosomal dominant),3-5 multiple adenomatosis type I (autosomal dominant),6 Lynch syndrome II (autosomal dominant),7-9 von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (autosomal dominant),10 a subset of the familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (autosomal dominant),11,12 ataxia telangiectasia (autosomal recessive),13 and a single report of a family with autosomal dominant transmission of pancreatic cancer in