Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer

Approximately 46,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, some of which are caused by a gene mutation that can be passed from generation to generation. Pancreatic cancer can be present in different hereditary cancer syndromes. When pancreatic cancer is the predominant cancer in a family, the most common known causes are mutations in the PALB2, BRCA2 and p16 genes. The BRCA2 gene produces a protein that normally prevents cells from becoming malignant by aiding in the repair of mutations in other genes through a process known as double-stranded DNA repair. The PALB2 gene, named because it is a "Partner And Localizer of BRCA2," produces a protein that interacts with BRCA2 and is also involved in DNA repair. Therefore, an inherited mutation in either of these genes, also known as tumor suppressor genes, increases the probability of malignant transformation and cancer. Mutations in PALB2 and BRCA2 are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. When assessing hereditary cancer risk, a patient's personal and family history is collected to investigate the risk for hereditary pancreatic cancer. If predominantly pancreatic cancer is seen, genetic testing for PALB2 and BRCA2 may be appropriate.

PANEXIA® Testing

PANEXIA® testing assesses a person’s risk of developing hereditary pancreatic cancer. PANEXIA® offers insights about the risk of future hereditary cancers for patients and their families. PANEXIA® analyzes the PALB2 and BRCA2 genes, the two genes most commonly mutated in families with hereditary pancreatic cancer. Because pancreatic cancer can be present in multiple hereditary cancer syndromes, it could also be useful to use a gene panel test such as Myriad myRisk™ to identify patients who may be at greatest risk so they can take steps to lower their risk.

Identifying Patients at Risk for Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer

Finding patients who have germline mutations in the PALB2 and BRCA2 genes may provide valuable information about cancer risks to patients and their family members. The following "Red Flags" in a patient's personal or family history may indicate an increased risk for a PALB2 or BRCA2 mutation. Red Flags identify patients at risk for a PALB2 or BRCA2 mutation, for whom further clinical evaluation to determine appropriateness of genetic testing is warranted.
  • Pancreatic cancer patient with at least one close relative with pancreatic cancer
  • Individual with two or more close relatives with pancreatic cancer
  • Individual of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with a personal history of pancreatic cancer or a first-degree relative with pancreatic cancer
  • A previously identified PALB2 or BRCA2 mutation in the family

Benefits of PANEXIA® Testing

The results of the PANEXIA® test enable the development of a patient-specific medical management plan to reduce the risk of cancer. A positive result with PANEXIA® may allow you to:
  • Target screening and surveillance specifically to individuals with a BRCA2 or PALB2 gene mutation
  • Improve patient and their family member's compliance with tailored screening recommendations and preventive measures
  • Improve outcomes through prevention, earlier diagnosis and treatment of specific cancers, should they develop
  • Counsel patients and their family members on the underlying cause of mutation-related cancers in their family
  • Avoid unnecessary interventions for family members who do not test positive for the mutation known to be in the family

Managing Patients with Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer

If PANEXIA® testing confirms the presence of a BRCA2 or PALB2 mutation, the following medical management options may help reduce cancer risk and may either delay the onset of cancer, detect cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage or even prevent it. Positive PALB2 Gene Mutation Results:
  • Increased surveillance for pancreatic cancer in mutation carriers Positive BRCA2 Gene Mutation Results:
  • Increased surveillance for pancreatic cancer in mutation carriers
  • Increased surveillance for ovarian cancer in mutation carriers
  • Risk reducing medications for mutation carriers
  • Prophylactic surgery in mutation carriers

What is the unique advantage of Myriad Panexia® testing?

No company has more experience in genetic testing for hereditary cancer than Myriad. Over the last 20 years, Myriad has delivered more than one million test results.


[accordion][accordion-item title="How do I order a test?"]Please contact us and let us know if you would like to order a test for a patient. One of our representatives will get in touch with you and advise on the workflow, and provide the necessary forms and sample collection kits. Once the samples have been collected, we will coordinate the shipment of the sample to the laboratory. Once testing is completed, the report will be sent to you.[/accordion-item][accordion-item title="How is the PANEXIA® test performed?"]A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient and sent to Myriad for DNA sequencing analysis.[/accordion-item][accordion-item title="How long does it take for PANEXIA® results?"]Results usually take two weeks and are sent to the healthcare provider who ordered the test.[/accordion-item][accordion-item title="Who can I contact to help me determine if PANEXIA® testing is right for my patient?"]It is appropriate to consider PANEXIA testing for patients with a predominantly pancreatic cancer personal and/or family history. If other cancers such as breast, ovarian, melanoma, colon, endometrial or other cancers are present, there may be a more appropriate genetic test.[/accordion-item][/accordion]