Dr. Tempero on Importance of Germline Testing in Pancreatic Cancer

Margaret A. Tempero, MD
Published: Thursday, Apr 11, 2019



Margaret A. Tempero, MD, director, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Pancreas Center, professor of medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Rombauer Family Distinguished Professor in Pancreas Cancer Clinical and Translational Science, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the importance of germline testing in pancreatic cancer.

The field of advanced pancreatic cancer has not seen many updates in terms of treatment options, Tempero says, but researchers are getting more direction regarding the role of germline testing. Notably, the field has discovered that about 50% of patients who carry a deleterious mutation don’t have a family history which would support the use of germline testing. Now that this is understood, germline testing is being recommended in every patient.

In addition to gaining information that can be helpful to families, germline testing can lead to discoveries that drive therapeutic decisions, Tempero notes. For example, data show that patients with germline mutations in the DNA repair pathway are more likely to respond to a DNA damaging agent. This could help in selecting a treatment like FOLFIRINOX instead of the combination of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane).
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Margaret A. Tempero, MD, director, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Pancreas Center, professor of medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Rombauer Family Distinguished Professor in Pancreas Cancer Clinical and Translational Science, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the importance of germline testing in pancreatic cancer.

The field of advanced pancreatic cancer has not seen many updates in terms of treatment options, Tempero says, but researchers are getting more direction regarding the role of germline testing. Notably, the field has discovered that about 50% of patients who carry a deleterious mutation don’t have a family history which would support the use of germline testing. Now that this is understood, germline testing is being recommended in every patient.

In addition to gaining information that can be helpful to families, germline testing can lead to discoveries that drive therapeutic decisions, Tempero notes. For example, data show that patients with germline mutations in the DNA repair pathway are more likely to respond to a DNA damaging agent. This could help in selecting a treatment like FOLFIRINOX instead of the combination of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane).

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