Could certain cancers be linked to Parkinson’s disease?


Author: Sarah McGrathPublished: 23 March 2023

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A molecule of DNA.

Previous research has suggested that people with Parkinson’s may generally be less likely to develop most cancers. However, a new international study has found a potential genetic link between certain types of cancer and the condition.

The team analysed genetic data from genome-wide association studies – a research approach that aims to identify gene variations associated with disease risk – to recognise common genetic risk factors between cancer and Parkinson’s.

The findings uncovered a genetic link between the condition and both prostate cancer and melanoma. Meanwhile, the sum of various gene variants (otherwise known as the polygenic risk score) that contribute to Parkinson’s was significantly associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.

“Our results suggest the importance of shared genetic variants between Parkinson’s and some cancers,” the researchers concluded in the study, which was published in the medical journal ‘Movement Disorders’. They highlighted the need for further studies to better understand the link.

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