In the Journals

Parkinson’s disease linked to increased melanoma risk

Patients with Parkinson’s disease may also be at an increased risk for melanoma, according to the results of a prospective clinicopathological study.

According to background information of the study, a link between Parkinson’s disease and melanoma has been suspected in the past; however, whether an increased risk was associated with the disease itself or with levodopa, which is used to treat the disease, was uncertain.

Results of the current study indicated that the more than twofold increased risk was independent of treatment method.

The researchers enrolled patients from 31 centers in North America. Patients were examined for melanoma risk factors, given a whole-body examination, and given a biopsy for any lesions that suggested melanoma. These data were then compared with melanoma prevalence calculated from the SEER cancer database and the American Academy of Dermatology skin cancer screening programs.

Of the 2,106 patients who completed the study, 84.8% had been assigned levodopa. Among these patients, dermatologists noted 346 pigmented lesions; 294 were biopsied. Twenty of the lesions (0.9%) were in situ melanoma and four were invasive melanomas (0.2%). An additional 68 prior melanomas (3.2%) were noted in patient medical histories.

When data from the study were combined with any documented melanomas diagnosed five years before baseline, 10 invasive melanomas were detected in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Data from SEER indicated that in a similar population of this size, age and sex, only 4.46 cases of invasive melanoma would be expected. This indicated that the RR of invasive melanoma in patients with Parkinson’s disease was 2.24 (95% CI, 1.21-4.17).

However, the researchers said these results must be interpreted carefully “because of the differences in the way our data were collected compared with the historical melanoma data recorded in the SEER database or from [American Academy of Dermatology] screening.”

The researchers said this study provided no evidence of a relationship between the use of levodopa and increased incidence of melanoma.

Bertoni JM. Arch Neurol. 2010;67:347-352.

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Patients with Parkinson’s disease may also be at an increased risk for melanoma, according to the results of a prospective clinicopathological study.

According to background information of the study, a link between Parkinson’s disease and melanoma has been suspected in the past; however, whether an increased risk was associated with the disease itself or with levodopa, which is used to treat the disease, was uncertain.

Results of the current study indicated that the more than twofold increased risk was independent of treatment method.

The researchers enrolled patients from 31 centers in North America. Patients were examined for melanoma risk factors, given a whole-body examination, and given a biopsy for any lesions that suggested melanoma. These data were then compared with melanoma prevalence calculated from the SEER cancer database and the American Academy of Dermatology skin cancer screening programs.

Of the 2,106 patients who completed the study, 84.8% had been assigned levodopa. Among these patients, dermatologists noted 346 pigmented lesions; 294 were biopsied. Twenty of the lesions (0.9%) were in situ melanoma and four were invasive melanomas (0.2%). An additional 68 prior melanomas (3.2%) were noted in patient medical histories.

When data from the study were combined with any documented melanomas diagnosed five years before baseline, 10 invasive melanomas were detected in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Data from SEER indicated that in a similar population of this size, age and sex, only 4.46 cases of invasive melanoma would be expected. This indicated that the RR of invasive melanoma in patients with Parkinson’s disease was 2.24 (95% CI, 1.21-4.17).

However, the researchers said these results must be interpreted carefully “because of the differences in the way our data were collected compared with the historical melanoma data recorded in the SEER database or from [American Academy of Dermatology] screening.”

The researchers said this study provided no evidence of a relationship between the use of levodopa and increased incidence of melanoma.

Bertoni JM. Arch Neurol. 2010;67:347-352.

More In the Journals summaries>>

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