PanScan, the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium, and the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium

The Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium consists of more than a dozen prospective epidemiologic cohort studies within the NCI Cohort Consortium, whose leaders work together to investigate the etiology and natural history of pancreatic cancer. They formed the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium in 2006 by investigators for the initial purpose of launching a genome-wide association study (GWAS) known as PanScan. The PanScan study has expanded to include a collaboration with investigators leading eight hospital-based case-control studies that belong to the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control (PANC4) Consortium.

No effective screening test exists for pancreatic cancer, which is one of the leading causes of cancer mortality in the United States. It is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, contributing to a five-year survival rate of less than five percent. NCI's research priorities include the identification of genetic factors, environmental exposures, and gene-environment interactions that contribute to the development of this cancer and identification and development of methods of surveillance and diagnosis for early detection of the disease. Both consortia seek to address these priorities.

PanScan investigators have conducted three GWASs: PanScan I, II, and III. PanScan I and II were conducted in 12 cohort studies and eight case-control studies. Investigators have completed and recently published a third phase of PanScan using identified incident pancreatic cancer cases with controls drawn from 14 cohorts from the NCI Cohort Consortium, including the 10 prospective cohorts who participated in PanScan I and II. Five newly joined cohorts, two new case-series, and one case-control study were also included. Replication was performed in samples from (a) the Pancreatic Disease Research (PANDoRA) consortium, a multi-institutional European case-control study of pancreatic cancer, (b) pancreatic cancer cases from PanScan III studies with DNA quantity that was insufficient for full GWAS, and (c) an in silico replication set of pancreatic cancer cases from Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 80303, a U.S. cooperative group clinical trial of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who had previously undergone genotyping using the Illumina HumanHap550 array.

At this time, the three PanScan consortium GWASs have led to the discovery of nine novel regions in the genome associated with risk for pancreatic adenocarcinoma at the genome-wide significant level. View the PanScan publications list.

Investigators are presently working on the secondary aims of PanScan III, on imputation analyses using the same participants, and a meta-analysis with GWAS data generated by the pancreatic cancer case-control consortium (PANC4).

The genotype results and executive summaries of individual SNP analyses are posted on a controlled-access web site (dbGaP), available to the biomedical research community in accord with NIH policy. Researchers may apply for access through the CGEMS Pancreatic Cancer Data Web page; please direct questions about data access to

The efforts of the grant-supported cohorts are coordinated by Dr. Charles Fuchs, those of the grant-supported case-control studies by Dr. Gloria Peterson, and those of NCI-led intramural studies by Dr. Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon and Dr. Laufey Amundadottir.

Questions? Contact:

  • Joanne Elena, PhD, MPH, Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), NCI
  • Laufey Amundadottir, PhD, Laboratory of Translational Genomics, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), NCI
  • Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, PhD, MPH, RD, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), NCI