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Invited Commentary
August 2015

Parkinson Disease and Malignant Disease: Minding Cancer’s Own Business

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, and Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 3Departments of Surgery, Immunology, and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 4University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Oncol. 2015;1(5):641-642. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.1810

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.


That cancer and neurodegenerative disorders are related is increasingly evident, providing a rapidly expanding area for investigation.1 The relationship between Parkinson disease (PD) and cancer is particularly complex. A wealth of epidemiologic data suggests reduced risk of some cancers, and increased risk of others, in patients with PD.1 The study by Lin and colleagues2 in this issue of JAMA Oncology suggests a remarkable increase in cancer risk in patients with PD in an East Asian population that is genetically more homogeneous than previously studied Western populations. From the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, these investigators drew a sample of 62 023 patients from 2004 to 2010, with PD diagnosed and followed up until 2012. They found a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.58 (95% CI, 1.50-1.65; P < .001) for all cancers, which was also statistically significant in 16 of 19 individual cancers (other than breast, ovarian, or thyroid cancers). These HRs were significant in malignant brain tumors, gastrointestinal tract cancers, some hormone-related cancers, urinary tract cancers, and in melanoma as well as other skin cancers. Unlike previous studies, no inverse associations were found between PD and the development of cancer.

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