Prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease, risk, and genealogy


An article just published on line in the Archives of Neurology has suggested that there is an association between risk for Parkinson’s disease and risk for prostate cancer among families in Utah. Whether this association extends to the rest of the US population is not known at this time.

According to this paper by Kareus et al. (the full text of which is available on line).

  • Increased risk for Parkinson’s disease was associated with increased risk for two other forms of cancer: melanoma and prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer was diagnosed in 212 individuals who died with Parkinson’s disease (relative risk [RR] = 1.71), but was only expected in 124.
  • An elevated risk for prostate cancer was observable among first-, second-, and third-degree relatives of persons who died with Parkinson’s disease.
  • A significantly increased risk of death with Parkinson’s disease was observable among 22,147 men with a diagnosis of prostate cancer (RR = 1.39).

The clinical significance of these findings is not yet clear. However, such data do support a genetic link between risk for prostate cancer and risk for Parkinson’s disease.

This study was carried out by analyzing data from the Utah Population Database (UPDB), which includes birth, death, and family relationship data for more than 2 million individuals, with records extending back for more than 15 generations in some families.  The original genealogy data (based on records collected by the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints) have been supplemented with vital records data from the state of Utah and record-linked to disease data for the state including Utah death certificates dating back to 1904 and the Utah Cancer Registry.

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