Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases and the Risk of Cancer: A Cohort Study

Anne G. Ording, Katalin Veres, Erzsébet Horváth-Puhó, M. Maria Glymour, Mikael Rørth, Victor W. Henderson, Henrik T. Sørensen, David Knopman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Observational studies have shown inverse associations between neurological diseases, particularly dementia, and subsequent cancer risk, but is unknown whether this association is valid or arises from bias. We conducted a Danish nationwide cohort study using population-based health registries (1980-2012). The study included patients with dementia (n=173,434) and with Parkinson's disease (n=28,835). We followed patients for 10 years to assess subsequent cancer diagnoses. We computed absolute reduction in cancer risk attributable to dementia or Parkinson's disease (expected minus the observed number of cancer cases divided by the person time) and standardized incidence rate ratios (SIRs) as the observed to expected number of cancers, based on sex-, age-, and calendar year-standardized national incidence rates. During 10 years, the reduction in cancer cases were 79.9 per 10,000 person-years for Alzheimer's disease [SIR=0.68 (95% CI: 0.66, 0.70)], 74.4 per 10,000 person-years for vascular dementia [SIR=0.71 (95% CI: 0.67, 0.74)], 55.8 per 10,000 person-years [SIR=0.77 (95% CI: 0.75, 0.78)] for all-cause dementia, and 4.0 per 10,000 person-years [SIR=0.98 (95% CI: 0.95, 1.02) for Parkinson's disease. Associations were nearly similar for solid tumors diagnosed at localized, regional, or distant stages. We found an inverse association between dementia and cancer risk, with similar associations when considering only cancers diagnosed at distant stage. The cancer risk varied by type of dementia, with a gradient toward a stronger protective effect associated with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, which may favor a biological explanation. Overall results do not show an inverse association between Parkinson's disease and cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1277
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • dementia
  • epidemiology
  • neoplasms
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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