Pancreatic cancer and autoimmune diseases: An association sustained by computational and epidemiological case–control approaches

Paulina Gomez-Rubio, Janet Piñero, Esther Molina-Montes, Alba Gutiérrez-Sacristán, Mirari Marquez, Marta Rava, Christoph W. Michalski, Antoni Farré, Xavier Molero, Matthias Löhr, José Perea, William Greenhalf, Michael O'Rorke, Adonina Tardón, Thomas Gress, Victor M. Barberá, Tatjana Crnogorac-Jurcevic, Luís Muñoz-Bellvís, Enrique Domínguez-Muñoz, Joaquim BalsellsEithne Costello, Jingru Yu, Mar Iglesias, Lucas Ilzarbe, Jörg Kleeff, Bo Kong, Josefina Mora, Liam Murray, Damian O'Driscoll, Ignasi Poves, Rita T. Lawlor, Weimin Ye, Manuel Hidalgo, Aldo Scarpa, Linda Sharp, Alfredo Carrato, Francisco X. Real, Laura I. Furlong, Núria Malats

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2018 UICC Deciphering the underlying genetic basis behind pancreatic cancer (PC) and its associated multimorbidities will enhance our knowledge toward PC control. The study investigated the common genetic background of PC and different morbidities through a computational approach and further evaluated the less explored association between PC and autoimmune diseases (AIDs) through an epidemiological analysis. Gene-disease associations (GDAs) of 26 morbidities of interest and PC were obtained using the DisGeNET public discovery platform. The association between AIDs and PC pointed by the computational analysis was confirmed through multivariable logistic regression models in the PanGen European case–control study population of 1,705 PC cases and 1,084 controls. Fifteen morbidities shared at least one gene with PC in the DisGeNET database. Based on common genes, several AIDs were genetically associated with PC pointing to a potential link between them. An epidemiologic analysis confirmed that having any of the nine AIDs studied was significantly associated with a reduced risk of PC (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58–0.93) which decreased in subjects having ≥2 AIDs (OR = 0.39, 95%CI 0.21–0.73). In independent analyses, polymyalgia rheumatica, and rheumatoid arthritis were significantly associated with low PC risk (OR = 0.40, 95%CI 0.19–0.89, and OR = 0.73, 95%CI 0.53–1.00, respectively). Several inflammatory-related morbidities shared a common genetic component with PC based on public databases. These molecular links could shed light into the molecular mechanisms underlying PC development and simultaneously generate novel hypotheses. In our study, we report sound findings pointing to an association between AIDs and a reduced risk of PC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1540-1549
    JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


    • autoimmune diseases
    • case–control study
    • gene-disease associations
    • genetic network
    • multimorbidity
    • pancreatic cancer risk


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