Germline mutations in CDKN2A have been reported in pancreatic cancer families, but genetic counseling for pancreatic cancer risk has been limited by lack of information on CDKN2A mutation carriers outside of selected pancreatic or melanoma kindreds. Lymphocyte DNA from consecutive, unselected white non-Hispanic patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma was used to sequence CDKN2A. Frequencies of mutations that alter the coding of p16INK4 or p14ARF were quantified overall and in subgroups. Penetrance and likelihood of carrying mutations by family history were estimated. Among 1537 cases, 9 (0.6%) carried germline mutations in CDKN2A, including three previously unreported mutations. CDKN2A mutation carriers were more likely to have a family history of pancreatic cancer (P=0.003) or melanoma (P=0.03), and a personal history of melanoma (P=0.01). Among cases who reported having a first-degree relative with pancreatic cancer or melanoma, the carrier proportions were 3.3 and 5.3%, respectively. Penetrance for mutation carriers by age 80 was calculated to be 58% for pancreatic cancer (95% confidence interval (CI) 8-86%), and 39% for melanoma (95% CI 0-80). Among cases who ever smoked cigarettes, the risk for pancreatic cancer was higher for carriers compared with non-carriers (HR 25.8, P=2.1 × 10⁻¹³), but among nonsmokers, this comparison did not reach statistical significance. Germline mutations in CDKN2A among unselected pancreatic cancer patients are uncommon, although notably penetrant, especially among smokers. Carriers of germline mutations of CDKN2A should be counseled to avoid tobacco use to decrease risk of pancreatic cancer in addition to taking measures to decrease melanoma risk.