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18 April 2011
What's the connection between Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer?
by George Atkinson

Researchers from the University of Utah School of Medicine say they have found compelling evidence that Parkinson's disease is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Interestingly, they also say that this increased cancer risk also extends to close and distant relatives of individuals with Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurologic condition that leads to tremors and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. Most studies demonstrate that individuals with PD have an overall decreased rate of cancer, with the notable exception of melanoma (skin cancer).

Using the Utah Population Database, which contains data on 2.2 million individuals, the researchers discovered that the risk of prostate cancer and melanoma among PD patients was significantly higher than expected. They also observed an increased risk for prostate cancer and melanoma among first-, second-, and third-degree relatives of these individual.

"In our study, we not only identified an increased risk for prostate cancer and melanoma among individuals with PD and their relatives, but also established a reciprocal risk for PD among individuals with these two cancers and their relatives," says study co-author Stefan-M. Pulst. "Collectively, these data strongly support a genetic association between PD and both prostate cancer and melanoma."

"Our findings point to the existence of underlying changes that are common to PD, prostate cancer, and melanoma," says co-researcher Lisa Cannon-Albright. "Exploring the precise genetic links among these diseases could improve our understanding of PD and influence strategies for prostate and skin cancer screening."

Low Testosterone Linked To Parkinson's Disease

Source: University of Utah Health Sciences

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