A study has discovered key genetic mutations in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, according to the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation.
The foundation funded researchers at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, who studied patients with the particular type of non-functioning cancer and discovered a common genetic mutation among them. Researchers hope to be able to use the data they collected to effectively create prognoses for future patients, and prioritize their need for treatment based on the stage their cancer is in.
“One of the most significant things we have learned is that each patient with this form of pancreatic cancer has a unique genetic code that predicts how aggressive the disease is and how sensitive it is to specific treatments,” lead researcher Dr. Nickolas Papadopoulos said.
The study found that those with the particular type of pancreatic tumor who also had a specific genetic mutation lived at least 10 years with the disease whereas patients without the mutation died within five years of diagnosis.
Though this discovery serves as a significant advancement for research about this rare cancer, the overall prognosis for pancreatic cancer is poor and in cases where the disease has metastasized, patients have less than a 2 percent chance of survival beyond 5 years. Those at an increased risk of developing a life-threatening illness should consider updating their life insurance policies to ensure that their families will be provided for in the event of their death.