Background: Women have a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD) compared with age-matched men. Neuro-protective effects of estrogen potentially explain this difference. Tamoxifen, commonly used in breast cancer treatment, may interfere with the protective effects of estrogen and increase risk of PD. We compared the rate of PD in Danish breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen to the rate among those not treated with tamoxifen.Methods: A cohort of 15,419 breast cancer patients identified from the Danish Breast Cancer Collaborative Group database was linked to the National Registry of Patients to identify PD diagnoses. Overall risk and rate of PD following identification into the study was compared between patients treated with tamoxifen as adjuvant hormonal therapy and patients not receiving tamoxifen. Time-dependent effects of tamoxifen treatment on PD rate were examined to estimate the likely induction period for tamoxifen.Results: In total, 35 cases of PD were identified among the 15,419 breast cancer patients. No overall effect of tamoxifen on rate of PD was observed (HR = 1.3, 95% CI: 0.64-2.5), but a PD hazard ratio of 5.1 (95% CI: 1.0-25) was seen four to six years following initiation of tamoxifen treatment.Conclusions: These results provide evidence that the neuro-protective properties of estrogen against PD occurrence may be disrupted by tamoxifen therapy. Tamoxifen treatments may be associated with an increased rate of PD; however these effects act after four years, are of limited duration, and the adverse effect is overwhelmed by the protection against breast recurrence conferred by tamoxifen therapy. © 2010 Latourelle et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.