The rapid fatality rate of pancreatic cancer is due in large part to an advanced stage of diagnosis for the majority of cases. Identification of individuals at high-risk of developing pancreatic cancer is a first step towards the early detection of this disease. Individuals who may harbor a major pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene are one such high-risk group.
Pancreatic Cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In 2006, an estimated 33,700 new cases will be diagnosed and 32,300 individuals will die from pancreatic cancer. Segregation models support a dominant susceptibility gene, carried by approximately 7 out of 1000 individuals. PancPRO is a statistical model with associated software that estimates the probability an individual carries a mutation in this major susceptibility gene (or gene effect), based on his or her family history of pancreatic cancer, and further estimates the probability an individual develops pancreatic cancer in his or her future years. The results will give useful information about an individual's pancreatic cancer risk before he or she decides to undergo invasive screenings and for researchers to enroll individuals at high risk for screening studies and genetic studies.
PancPRO is being maintained as part of the Hopkins SPORE in Gastrointestinal Cancer with Giovanni Parmigiani and Alison Klein as project leaders. It is currently distributed free of charge for research and counseling use through BayesMendel or CaGene, by David Euhus, described below.