Parkinson’s disease may be associated with higher risk of most cancers, according to a Taiwanese population study published in JAMA Oncology.

Led by Pei Ying Lin, MD, of the National Yang-Ming University in Taipei and fellow researchers, the cohort study suggests that ethnicity and environmental exposure may play a role in disease pathogenesis.

“Parkinson’s disease has been reported to be associated with a general reduced risk of cancer,” the authors noted. “These studies were mainly carried out in Western populations and little was known about associations in East Asians.”

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The researchers identified 62,023 patients with Parkinson’s disease through the Taiwan Population Census and National Cancer Registry Databases. They used multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression analysis to determine the association between Parkinson’s disease and risk of cancer.

They found that among 19 types of cancer, Parkinson’s was not associated with breast, ovarian or thyroid cancers.

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However, they observed higher hazard ratios in the remaining 16 types, including brain tumors, gastrointestinal tract cancers, lung, pancreas, colorectal, hormone-related cancers, prostate, urinary tract, melanoma, and urinary tract cancers.

“Further studies are needed to clarify whether our findings can be applied to other East Asian populations,” the authors concluded.


  1. Lin, Pei-Ying, MD, et al. “Association Between Parkinson Disease and Risk of Cancer in Taiwan.” JAMA Oncology. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.1752. [epub ahead of print]. June 18, 2015.