Pancreatic cancer risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aravind Reddy Kothagadi M.B.B.S[2]


Pancreatic cancer is associated with number of predisposing risk factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, and environmental exposures. The most potent risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, alcoholism, increased BMI, diabetes mellitus, chronic pancreatitis and a family history of pancreatic cancer. Individuals with hereditary pancreatitis, familial pancreatic cancer, Peutz-Jeghers disease, familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM), von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1, cystic fibrosis of the pancreas and familial cancer syndromes such as lynch syndrome, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer-BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are also at an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Other medical conditions which pose as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer are inflammatory bowel disease, periodontal disease and peptic ulcer disease.

Risk Factors

  • Risk factors for Pancreatic Cancers:[4]
Risk factors for Pancreatic Cancer
Risk factors
  • Family history of pancreatic cancer
Familial Cancer Syndromes
  • Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM)
Other medical conditions
  • Periodontal disease

  • Risk Factors and Inherited Syndromes associated with Pancreatic Cancer:[5]
Risk Factors and Inherited Syndromes associated with Pancreatic Cancer
Risk Factor Approximate Risk
Smoking 2-3 %
Long-standing Diabetes mellitus 2 %
Nonhereditary and chronic pancreatitis 2-6 %
Obesity, Inactivity or both 2 %
Non O Blood Group 1-2 %
Genetic Syndrome and Associated Gene or Genes
Hereditary pancreatitis (PRSS1, SPINK1) 50 %
Familial atypical multiple mole and melanoma syndrome (p16) 10-20 %
Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes (BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2) 1-2 %
Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (STK11 [LKB1]) 30-40 %
Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome) (MLH1, MSH2, MSH6) 4 %
Ataxia-telangiectasia (ATM) Unknown
Li-Fraumeni syndrome (P53) Unknown


  1. Goral V (2015). "Pancreatic Cancer: Pathogenesis and Diagnosis". Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 16 (14): 5619–24. PMID 26320426.
  2. Pandol, Stephen; Gukovskaya, Anna; Edderkoui, Mouad; Dawson, David; Eibl, Guido; Lugea, Aurelia (2012). "Epidemiology, risk factors, and the promotion of pancreatic cancer: Role of the stellate cell". Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 27: 127–134. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1746.2011.07013.x. ISSN 0815-9319.
  3. Lowenfels, Albert B.; Maisonneuve, Patrick (2005). "Risk factors for pancreatic cancer". Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. 95 (4): 649–656. doi:10.1002/jcb.20461. ISSN 0730-2312.
  4. Bond-Smith G, Banga N, Hammond TM, Imber CJ (2012). "Pancreatic adenocarcinoma". BMJ. 344: e2476. doi:10.1136/bmj.e2476. PMID 22592847.
  5. Ryan DP, Hong TS, Bardeesy N (2014). "Pancreatic adenocarcinoma". N Engl J Med. 371 (11): 1039–49. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1404198. PMID 25207767.

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