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Pancreatic Cancer Family Study

MD Anderson is enrolling volunteers for a genetic study of pancreatic cancer. We’re studying pancreatic cancer to better understand why people develop this disease. In particular, we want to learn about family risks for pancreatic cancer. We can use your help.

If two or more people in your family have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you may be eligible to participate.

MD Anderson is one of seven institutions nationwide working to find ways, ultimately, to reduce risk for pancreatic cancer. These institutions make up the Genetic Epidemiology (PACGENE) Consortium. In addition to MD Anderson, PACGENE members include Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, Creighton University, Karmanos Cancer Institute, University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

What is the Pancreatic Cancer Family Study?

We’re seeking study participants who may be at increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer because a family member has been diagnosed with the disease. We are looking at family histories and blood samples for a possible gene or genes related to pancreatic cancer. If we can identify a genetic link among pancreatic cancer patients and their family members, we can learn more about the disease and, ultimately, develop methods for prevention and improved treatment.

Who can participate?

Families with two or more pancreatic cancer patients who are biological relatives (no in-laws).

What do I have to do to participate?

  • Complete a 50-minute interview with a researcher. You do not have to come to MD Anderson to participate. 
  • Fill out a questionnaire about your health
  • Ask family members questions about their health.
  • Possibly give a blood sample (about 1 tablespoon) one time only for use in genetic testing. This may be done at your local clinic or doctor’s office. MD Anderson will pay your clinic expenses for the blood draw, and also pay shipping for you to mail the package to us.

Why should I participate?

  • Learn more about pancreatic cancer and your risk.
  • Contribute to research that may benefit your family in future generations.


Melissa L. Bondy, Ph.D.

Melissa L. Bondy, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at MD Anderson.  Her research focuses on the role of heredity in etiology of select cancers. She conducts a population-based case-control study of gliomas to evaluate gene-environment and gene-gene interactions and a genetic linkage study in genetically predisposed families using her family registry; evaluates association of DNA adducts in breast cancer etiology and identifies genetic and epidemiologic determinants of breast cancer survival. Ongoing research in Egypt focuses on early onset colorectal cancer. She conducts a feasibility study for a Mexican-American cohort in Houston and Hidalgo County to identify risk factors possibly associated with disease patterns in this understudied population. Dr. Bondy directs the Childhood Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Center, a joint center of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Cancer Center and MD Anderson.

Phyllis Adatto, M.P.H., Research Manager

What is genetic testing?

From a blood sample, researchers may be able to determine whether you may be at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. We inherit genes from our parents, and, over time, changes in our genes may occur. These changes are called genetic alterations, and they may result in cancer. 

Researchers have identified certain genetic alterations that may place some people at higher risk ofdeveloping cancer. This is why some cancers appear to run in a family. If you have a particulargenetic alteration, you may be at increased risk for some types of cancer.


All information that you provide, as well as your blood sample, will be completely confidential.  No one outside this study may have access to your information without your permission.

Contact Information

  • Phone: Phyllis Adatto, research manager, at (713) 745-2489 or 1(800) 248-4856
  • E-mail: Phyllis Adatto, research manager, at

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center