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ADVOCACY GROUP: Genetic Testing for ALL Newly Diagnosed Pancreatic Cancer

03-28-2018 12:28 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Cancer Patients Alliance

Every newly diagnosed person with pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) should receive genetic screening prior to beginning treatment according to a new recommendation by the nonprofit Cancer Patients Alliance through their Pancreatica.org initiative.

Executive Director, Dale O’Brien, MD, reports, “there appears to be a subtype of pancreatic cancer, about 15%, that can be identified through genetic testing. The important point is that patients in this group often do better with different treatment agents than with more standard therapy.”

The nonprofit indicates that there are now 30-gene cancer panel saliva tests that can be obtained for less than $250. These tests are not exhaustive but represent a feasible and affordable reasonable current step forward. More comprehensive genetic testing measures are also a viable option.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers. It is thought that cancer comes about as a result of genetic mutations of DNA. In the past three years, impressive pancreatic cancer research has identified many genetic mutations associated with pancreatic cancer. This has been accompanied by early efforts to postulate practical subtypes of pancreatic cancer.

One such subgroup involves mutations of genes that cause dysfunction in DNA repair involving the process known as homologous recombination, including, for example, BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, ATM, RAD51, and others. Results of studies suggest that from 12% to 17% of those with pancreatic cancer with such a genetic pattern would better respond to treatment that includes DNA cross-linking agents such as platinum salts and/or PARP inhibitors.

The suggested genetic testing results would not change standard best practices therapy for the majority of those with pancreatic cancer. And, it is important to note that BRCA and other genetic mutations in this subgroup are identified by patient testing, and not tests on the tumor itself.

Dr. O’Brien indicates, “It is our modest proposal at this time that every newly diagnosed person with pancreatic cancer receive genetic testing prior to beginning treatment – to test for germline genetic mutations in the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway. And with treatment consideration to follow testing results.”

For more information: pancreatica.org/genetic-testing-for-pancreatic-cancer/

Cancer Patients Alliance is a 501-c-3 nonprofit public charity chartered in California since 2001. Its flagship initiative is www.pancreatica.org which provides a clearinghouse platform for comprehensive, credible and current information about the diagnosis, treatment and care of those with pancreatic cancer.

Cancer Patients Alliance
312 Fountain Avenue
Pacific Grove, California 93950

Press Contact:
Dale O’Brien, Executive Director
U.S. (831) 658-0600

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