The genetics of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is complex with patients reported to harbor germline pathogenic variants (PVs) in many different genes. PDAC patients with familial pancreatic cancer (FPC) are more likely to carry germline PVs but there is no consensus main gene involved in FPC. We performed a systematic review of publications from PubMed and Scopus reporting PVs in patients with FPC, sporadic pancreatic cancer (SPC) and unselected cohorts of PDAC patients undergoing genetic testing and calculated a cumulative prevalence of PVs for each gene evaluated across these three groups of patients. When available, variants in the selected publications were reclassified according to the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics classification system and used for prevalence calculations if classified as pathogenic or likely pathogenic. We observed an increased prevalence of PVs in FPC compared to SPC or unselected PDAC patients for most of the 41 genes reported. The genes with the highest prevalence of carriers of PVs in FPC were ATM, BRCA2, and CDKN2A. BRCA2 and ATM showed the highest prevalence of PVs in both SPC and unselected PDAC cohorts. Several genes with the highest prevalence of PVs are involved in breast and ovarian cancer suggesting strong overlap with underlying genetics in these disorders but no single gene was predominant. More research is needed to further understand the risk of PDAC associated with these many diverse genes.
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