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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1869304, 8 pages
Review Article

The Role of BRCA2 Mutation Status as Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prognosis Biomarker for Pancreatic Cancer

Translational Oncology Division, Oncohealth Institute, Health Research Institute, University Hospital Fundación Jiménez Díaz-UAM, Madrid, Spain

Received 8 August 2016; Revised 21 November 2016; Accepted 28 November 2016

Academic Editor: Renato Franco

Copyright © 2016 Javier Martinez-Useros and Jesus Garcia-Foncillas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers worldwide, and life expectancy after diagnosis is often short. Most pancreatic tumours appear sporadically and have been highly related to habits such as cigarette smoking, high alcohol intake, high carbohydrate, and sugar consumption. Other observational studies have suggested the association between pancreatic cancer and exposure to arsenic, lead, or cadmium. Aside from these factors, chronic pancreatitis and diabetes have also come to be considered as risk factors for these kinds of tumours. Studies have found that 10% of pancreatic cancer cases arise from an inherited syndrome related to some genetic alterations. One of these alterations includes mutation in BRCA2 gene. BRCA2 mutations impair DNA damage response and homologous recombination by direct regulation of RAD51. In light of these findings that link genetic factors to tumour development, DNA damage agents have been proposed as target therapies for pancreatic cancer patients carrying BRCA2 mutations. Some of these drugs include platinum-based agents and PARP inhibitors. However, the acquired resistance to PARP inhibitors has created a need for new chemotherapeutic strategies to target BRCA2. The present systematic review collects and analyses the role of BRCA2 alterations to be used in early diagnosis of an inherited syndrome associated with familiar cancer and as a prognostic and predictive biomarker for the management of pancreatic cancer patients.