Cancer and blood concentrations of the comutagen harmane in essential tremor

Authors

  • Elan D. Louis MD, MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. GH Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    3. Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    4. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    • Unit 198, Neurological Institute, 710 West 168th Street, New York, New York, 10032
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  • Kathryn M. Pellegrino BA,

    1. GH Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Pam Factor-Litvak PhD,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Eileen Rios BS,

    1. GH Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Wendy Jiang MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Purdue University School of Health Sciences, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
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  • Claire Henchcliffe MD, DPhil,

    1. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Wei Zheng PhD

    1. Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Purdue University School of Health Sciences, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Blood concentrations of harmane, a tremor-producing neurotoxin, are elevated in essential tremor (ET). Harmane is also a comutagen. Using a case-control design, we compared the prevalence of cancer in ET cases vs. controls, and determined whether blood harmane concentrations are elevated among ET cases with cancer. 66/267 (24.7%) ET cases vs. 55/331 (16.6%) controls had cancer (adjusted OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.01–2.30, P = 0.04). Among specific cancer types, colon cancer was more prevalent in ET cases than controls (2.6% vs. 0.6%, P = 0.04). Log blood harmane concentration was higher in ET cases vs. controls (P = 0.02) and in participants with vs. without cancer (P = 0.02). Log blood harmane concentration was highest in ET cases with cancer when compared with other groups (P = 0.009). These links between cancer and ET and between high blood harmane and cancer in ET deserve further study. © 2008 Movement Disorder Society

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