People with Parkinson's should be monitored for melanoma, study finds

July 5, 2017, Mayo Clinic

People with the movement disorder Parkinson's disease have a much higher risk of the skin cancer melanoma, and vice versa, a Mayo Clinic study finds. While further research is needed into the connection, physicians treating one disease should be vigilant for signs of the other and counsel those patients about risk, the authors say. The findings are published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Overall, patients with Parkinson's were roughly four times likelier to have had a history of melanoma than those without Parkinson's, and people with melanoma had a fourfold higher risk of developing Parkinson's, the research found.

Medical experts have speculated about the relationship between Parkinson's and melanoma for decades, with varying conclusions, the Mayo researchers note. Several studies have suggested levodopa, a drug for Parkinson's, may be implicated in , but others have found an association between the two diseases regardless of levodopa treatment, they add.

"Future research should focus on identifying common genes, immune responses and environmental exposures that may link these two diseases," says first author Lauren Dalvin, M.D., a Mayo Foundation Scholar in Ocular Oncology. "If we can pinpoint the cause of the association between Parkinson's disease and melanoma, we will be better able to counsel patients and families about their risk of developing one disease in the setting of the other."

The Mayo study used the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical records database to identify all neurologist-confirmed Parkinson's cases from January 1976 through December 2013 among Olmsted County, Minn., residents. The study examined the prevalence of melanoma in those 974 patients compared with 2,922 residents without Parkinson's. They also identified 1,544 cases of melanoma over that period and determined the 35-year risk of Parkinson's in those patients compared with the risk in the same number of people without melanoma.

The results support an association between Parkinson's and melanoma, but argue against levodopa as the cause, the researchers conclude. It is likelier that common environmental, genetic or immune system abnormalities underlie both conditions in patients who have both, but more research is needed to confirm that and refine screening recommendations, they say.

In the meantime, with one of the two diseases should be monitored for the other to help achieve early diagnosis and treatment, and they should be educated about the risk of developing the other illness, the researchers say.

The study's senior author is Jose Pulido, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who treats eye .

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

Related Stories

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

June 6, 2011
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 ...

What is survival among patients with Parkinson, Dementia with lewy bodies?

May 15, 2017
A new article published by JAMA Neurology compares survival rates among patients with synucleinopathies, including Parkinson disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson disease dementia and multiple system atrophy with ...

Melanoma up to 2.5 times likelier to strike transplant, lymphoma patients

October 3, 2012
Melanoma is on the rise nationally, and transplant recipients and lymphoma patients are far likelier than the average person to get that form of skin cancer and to die from it, a Mayo Clinic review has found. That is because ...

Inflammatory bowel disease raises risk of melanoma

May 20, 2013
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at higher risk of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, report researchers at Mayo Clinic. Researchers found that IBD is associated with a 37 percent greater risk for the disease. ...

Genetic variants linked to higher BMI may be protective against Parkinson disease

June 13, 2017
Genetic variants linked to higher body mass index (BMI) are associated with lower risk of Parkinson disease, according to a study published by Nicholas Wood and colleagues from the University College London, UK, in PLOS Medicine.

Recommended for you

Genomic dark matter activity connects Parkinson's and psychiatric diseases

September 20, 2018
Dopamine neurons are located in the midbrain, but their tendril-like axons can branch far into the higher cortical areas, influencing how we move and how we feel. New genetic evidence has revealed that these specialized cells ...

Gene therapy shown to remove core component of Parkinson's disease

September 14, 2018
An international team led by Rush researcher Jeffrey Kordower, Ph.D., has moved a step closer to developing a treatment to clear brain cells of a protein that is an integral cause of Parkinson's disease. The team published ...

ADHD may increase risk of Parkinson's disease and similar disorders

September 12, 2018
While about 11 percent of children (4-17 years old) nationwide have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the long-term health effects of having ADHD and of common ADHD medications remains understudied. ...

New high-throughput screening study may open up for future Parkinson's disease therapy

September 11, 2018
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder in the world. PD patients suffer from shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking. It is a neurodegenerative disease caused by the loss ...

Marmosets serve as an effective model for non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease

September 5, 2018
Small, New World monkeys called marmosets can mimic the sleep disturbances, changes in circadian rhythm, and cognitive impairment people with Parkinson's disease develop, according to a new study by scientists at Texas Biomedical ...

Novel brain network linked to chronic pain in Parkinson's disease

August 28, 2018
Scientists have revealed a novel brain network that links pain in Parkinson's disease (PD) to a specific region of the brain, according to a report in the journal eLife.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.