Study links Parkinson Disease (PD) with different cancer types in Taiwan

During a study conducted in Taiwan, scientists have come to know that Parkinson’s disease or PD might be linked to 16 different types of cancer.

The study is a part of an effort to establish and explain the association between PD and multiple cancer forms in an East Asian population. This makes the study significant as the majority of the previous studies on this subject were conducted on Western people. The study has recently been published in the journal JAMA Oncology.

The past five decades have seen over 25 epidemiological studies being conducted for gathering information on links between cancer and PD. The majority of those studies suggested that people suffering from PD has a reduced risk of developing cancer than the ones without PD.

However, as mentioned above most of those previous researches had Western people as subjects; this new study in Taiwan tested East Asian people as it is a known fact that genetic backgrounds have an important role to play in disease development.


National Taiwan University College of Medicine’s Pan-Chyr Yang is the study’s lead author. He and his colleagues combed the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database for creating a study group consisting of 62,023 patients who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease between 2004 and 2010. Also, there was a control group consisting of 124,046 individuals without PD.

During the study, the researchers found that although a PD diagnosis has no link with augmented risk of thyroid, ovarian, or breast cancers, it might have association with 16 other forms of cancer including cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, certain hormone-related cancers, malignant brain tumors, cancers of the urinary tract, lung cancer, different skin cancer types such as melanoma and lymphoma/leukemia.

The authors have talked about certain limitations of their study. The most significant ones among them include: not considering the patients’ smoking status, speculations about exposure to pesticides, remaining questions about genetic correlations, etc.

According to the article published in JAMA Oncology, the nationwide study on links between PD and cancer risk has revealed that PD increases the risk of the majority of the cancer forms in Taiwanese people. However, the authors have said that further studies must be carried out for clarifying whether their findings are applicable for any of the remaining East Asian populations.

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