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Pancreatic Cancer Research in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch

Pancreatic cancer is a rapidly fatal tumor that causes a substantial public health burden worldwide. In the U.S., it's among the few cancers whose incidence are increasing. Because the pancreas is a metabolically important organ, many dietary and metabolic hypotheses have been posited for this cancer. Epidemiologic studies are challenging, both because of concerns about reverse causality related to latent disease and because most cohort studies lack substantial case numbers. In order to evaluate risk factors for this cancer, DCEG investigators in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch have taken advantage of prospective data from DCEG cohorts and pooled consortia.

Recent findings for pancreatic cancer have included temporal trends over the past 40 years by demographics and histologic types using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registries, positive associations for childhood and early adulthood BMI, and identification of 20 risk signals in individuals of European descent within genome-wide associations studies. The diabetes associated with PDAC may be more heterogeneous than previously appreciated. In addition to Type 2 diabetes related to insulin resistance and adiposity, diabetes related to pancreatogenic disease and common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes related to maturity onset diabetes of the young contributes to the association between diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Learn about the PanScan Study.

For more information, contact Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon.

Metabolic Epidemiology Branch (MEB) - Research Areas