People with Parkinson's disease may have double the risk for melanoma

An analysis of several studies shows that people with Parkinson's disease have a significantly higher risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the leading cause of death from skin diseases. The research is published in the June 7, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Parkinson's disease is a brain disorder that causes tremors and difficulty with movement and walking. It affects about one million people in the United States.

"Past studies linking Parkinson's disease and melanoma have not been conclusive, so we wanted to explore a larger group of studies to see whether the link was consistent," said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institute of , a division of the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The research examined 12 studies conducted from 1965 and 2010 that looked at the possible association between Parkinson's disease and melanoma. Most of the studies had fewer than 10 cases with both conditions.

The study found that men with Parkinson's disease were twice as likely as those without Parkinson's to have melanoma. Women with Parkinson's disease were one-and-a-half times as likely to be diagnosed with the dangerous form of compared to women without Parkinson's. There was no clear link found between Parkinson's and non-melanoma skin cancer.

"Parkinson's disease patients in general have a lower risk for cancer, smoking-related cancers in particular, but they may have a higher risk for melanoma. One possible explanation for the link between Parkinson's and melanoma is that the two diseases may share some genetic or ," Chen said. "However, our understanding of this link is very preliminary."

Related Stories

Family history of melanoma linked to Parkinson's disease

Feb 16, 2009

People with a family history of melanoma may have a greater risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in ...

An ibuprofen a day could keep Parkinson's disease away

Feb 17, 2010

New research shows people who regularly take ibuprofen may reduce their risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual ...

Recommended for you

US orders farms to report pig virus infections

Apr 18, 2014

The U.S. government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the country last year.

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi

Apr 18, 2014

A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73.

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Apr 18, 2014

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

New clues on tissue scarring in scleroderma

Apr 18, 2014

A discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists could lead to potential new treatments for breaking the cycle of tissue scarring in people with scleroderma.

User comments