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About 10% of pancreatic cancer is caused by an inherited mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Other genetic mutations have been linked to increased risk of pancreatic cancer. These include:
Research is ongoing about the link between other genes and pancreatic cancer. These include:
Treatment options for people with a BRCA mutation
Knowing if you have an inherited mutation is increasingly important for pancreatic cancer patients when making treatment decisions. People with pancreatic cancer and an inherited BRCA mutation may respond better to a treatment regimen that includes a type of chemotherapy known as platinum. Oxaliplatin is a platinum-containing drug used in some pancreatic cancer regimens.
Olaparib (Lynparza) is a type of targeted therapy known as a PARP inhibitor which is FDA approved for maintenance treatment of pancreatic cancer in people with a BRCA mutation whose disease has not progressed after completing first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
People who carry a Lynch syndrome mutation are more likely to have a tumor biomarker called MSI-High. These tumors tend to respond well to certain immunotherapy agents. The drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda) has been approved to treat any type of MSI-High solid tumor (including pancreatic cancer).