Insights into the genetic risk factors for the development of pancreatic disease

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2017 Mar;10(3):323-336. doi: 10.1177/1756283X16684687. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


Diseases of the exocrine pancreas such as recurrent acute pancreatitis (RAP), chronic pancreatitis (CP) and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) represent syndromes defined according to traditional clinicopathologic criteria. The failure of traditional approaches to identify primary mechanisms underlying these progressive disorders illustrates a greater problem of failure of the germ theory of disease for complex disorders. Multiple genetic discoveries and new complex disease models force consideration of a new paradigm of 'precision medicine', requiring a new mechanistic definition of CP. Recognizing the advances in understanding complex gene and environment interactions, as well as the development of new strategies that limit or prevent the development of devastating end-stage diseases of the pancreas may lead to substantial improvements in patient care.

Keywords: acute pancreatitis; chronic pancreatitis; diabetes; exocrine pancreatic insufficiency; genetic; modeling; pancreatic disease; precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review