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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Oct;22(10):1913-7. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0518. Epub 2013 Aug 21.

Family history of diabetes and pancreatic cancer as risk factors for pancreatic cancer: the PACIFIC study.

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Authors' Affiliations: Departments of Epidemiology and Gastroenterology, University of Washington; Group Health Research Institute and Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California; and Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.


Genetic association studies have identified more than a dozen genes associated with risk of pancreatic cancer. Given this genetic heterogeneity, family history can be useful for identifying individuals at high risk for this disease. The goal of this analysis was to evaluate associations of family history of diabetes and family history of pancreatic cancer with risk of pancreatic cancer. PACIFIC is a case-control study based on two large health plans. Cases were diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and controls were selected from the health plan enrollment databases and frequency matched to cases. Family history data were collected using an interviewer-administered questionnaire and were available on 654 cases and 697 controls. Logistic regression was used for the association analyses. First-degree relative history of diabetes was statistically significantly associated with increased risk of PDA [OR, 1.37; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.10-1.71]. The highest risk of PDA was observed for an offspring with diabetes (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.23-3.09). In addition, history of pancreatic cancer increased risk for PDA with an OR of 2.79 (95% CI, 1.44-4.08) for any first-degree relative history of pancreatic cancer. This population-based analysis showed that family history of diabetes was associated with increased risk of PDA and confirmed previous studies showing that first-degree family history of pancreatic cancer is associated with PDA. These results support the need for ongoing studies of genetic influences on pancreatic cancer in large samples and investigations of possible pleiotropic genetic effects on diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

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