BACKGROUND: Familial Pancreatic Cancer (FPC) is responsible for up to 10% of all cases of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Individuals predisposed for FPC have an estimated lifetime risk of 16-39% of developing PDAC. While heritability of PDAC has been estimated to be 36% in a Nordic twin study, no heritability estimate specific on FPC has been reported.
METHODS: A national cohort of Danish families with predisposition for FPC is currently included in a screening program for PDAC at Odense University Hospital. Family members included in the screening program were interviewed for pedigree data including: cases of PDAC among first-degree relatives (FDRs) and number of affected/unaffected siblings. Heritability for FPC in the predisposed families was assessed by doubling the estimated intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) from a random intercept logistic model fitted to data on FDRs.
RESULTS: Among families with predisposition for FPC, 83 cases of PDAC were identified. The median age at diagnosis of PDAC was 66 years, and median time from diagnosis to death was 7.6 months. A total of 359 individuals were found as unaffected FDRs of the 83 PDAC cases. The retrieved FDRs included a total of 247 individuals in sibship and 317 individuals in parent-offspring relatedness. We estimated an ICC of 0.25, corresponding to a narrow sense additive heritability estimate of 0.51 in the FPC family cohort.
CONCLUSION: We have established a nation-wide cohort of FPC families to facilitate clinical and genetic studies on FPC. The estimated heritability of 51% prominently underlines a strong genetic background of FPC.