Prostate cancer risk is significantly higher than expected among nearly 3,000 persons with Parkinson’s disease, according to findings presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Honolulu.

The study, by Stefan Pulst, MD, and colleagues at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, examined data in the Utah Population Database and found that patients with Parkinson’s disease had a 72% increased relative risk for prostate cancer compared with individuals without the disease. First, second-, and third-degree relatives of Parkinson’s patients had a 24% increased relative risk.

Although increased relative risk among first-degree relatives could indicate genetic or environmental factors, the higher risk for second- and/or third-degree relatives points strongly to a genetic contribution, given the lack of a shared environment.

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Additionally, a significantly increased risk for Parkinson’s was found in the Utah prostate cancer population.