Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer

There are approximately 43,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in the United States each year151. some of which are hereditary and caused by a gene mutation that can be passed from generation to generation.  Pancreatic cancer can be seen in different hereditary cancer syndromes; therefore, it is important to take a complete family history and evaluate which genetic syndrome is most appropriate.  When predominantly pancreatic cancer is seen, the most common known causes are mutations in the PALB2 and BRCA2 genes.

Hereditary Cancer Testing for Pancreatic Cancer

The following questions can be asked to help determine whether someone has a higher risk for pancreatic cancer because of their own cancer history and their family's history.

Knowing the potential risk can help the healthcare provider and patient make better, more informed decisions about the patient’s health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has a chance to develop. Testing should be considered for hereditary pancreatic cancer if:

  • The patient has or has had pancreatic cancer and at least one close relative# with pancreatic cancer163-168
  • Is an individual with two or more close relatives# with pancreatic cancer
  • Is an individual of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with a personal history of pancreatic cancer or a first-degree relative# with pancreatic cancer*169-171
  • Someone has or has had a previously identified PALB2 or BRCA2 mutation in the family172-178

#Close refers to first- or second-degree relatives  First-degree relatives include parents, siblings, children; second-degree relatives include grandparents, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews

*Multisite 3 BRACAnalysis® may be the most appropriate initial test

^Assessment criteria based on scientific literature and expert opinion.  For a list of references, go to

To help assess whether someone is a candidate for testing, they can take the Hereditary Cancer Quiz. This quiz can help them get the information they need to discuss with their risk of cancer with their healthcare provider and ask for further evaluation. If someone matches any of the red flags above or takes the quiz and finds red flags in their own history or their family history, they may benefit from hereditary cancer testing.

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PANEXIA® testing assesses a person’s risk of developing hereditary pancreatic cancer. Panexia offers insight 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.


The results of PANEXIA testing help healthcare providers and their patients make more informed healthcare decisions.  A positive result with PANEXIA will 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

For more information about hereditary cancer testing, please visit:

For Physicians:

Myriad Pro genetic testing logo

For Patients:

My Support 360 hereditary cancer logo