Pancreatic Cancer Genetic Epidemiology

Purpose of the study

Mayo Clinic scientists are working with other scientists throughout the U.S. to identify susceptibility genes for pancreatic cancer, and to learn whether these genes manifest through exposure to cigarette smoking. The large research study is being conducted by the Pancreatic Cancer Genetic Epidemiology (PACGENE) Consortium and is funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The purpose of the study is to compare any inherited or genetic characteristics from blood and tissue specimens collected from individuals who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the blood and tissue of their family members. We will study responses to a family history and lifestyle survey and biospecimens (blood and tissue) to look for patterns of inheritance of cancer risk.

Who is eligible to participate in this study?

We are seeking families, in which two or more family members have, or have had pancreatic cancer, or in which at least one family member has, or has had pancreatic cancer and at least one family member has, or has had melanoma, and are age 18 or older.

What is involved in the study?

As a study participant you will be asked to:

  • Complete a questionnaire (mailed to your home address) about ethnic background, religion, family history, radiation exposure, education, occupational history, tobacco use, and beverage consumption.
  • Donate a small amount of blood (4 - 5 tablespoons) — we can send you a blood kit that you can take to your local clinic for the blood draw.
  • Give your permission to use surplus tissues, if gathered from any necessary surgical or endoscopic procedures, for future research.
  • Complete a follow-up questionnaire addressing any new conditions after your participation in the study.
  • Identify two persons who would be willing to serve as study contacts to help complete forms now and in the future.

Why study pancreatic cancer in families?

One of the most important findings in the last five years in our area of research, is that the risk of developing pancreatic cancer when you have an affected blood relative is double that of the general population. The risk is higher if there are multiple affected family members. Fortunately, these families are uncommon.

We need the help of families affected by pancreatic cancer to increase our understanding of its genetic basis. We will use the latest methods of "gene hunting" to try to identify a hereditary factor. Family members who do not have pancreatic cancer would be among the first to benefit from future research in screening and prevention of pancreatic cancer.

Who do I contact to participate in the study?

If you wish to obtain more information or to participate in our study please call Pancreas Research Team toll-free at 1-800-914-7962 or email at

Where is the study located?

This study is being conducted at Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota. Our mailing address is:

Mayo Clinic
Pancreas Research Project
Charlton 6
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905
Attention: Pancreas Research Team