Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) has been recognized recently as an uncommon cause of parkinsonism, an alternate presentation to the typical cerebellar disorder. This research review summarizes the existing literature on parkinsonism-predominant presentation SCA2 and presents new clinical cases of patients with this condition. Various phenotypes are noted in this subtype of SCA2, inclulng parkinsonism indistinguishable from idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD), parkinsonism plus ataxia, motor neuron disease, and postural tremor. In several kindreds with multiple affected family members, the SCA2 expansion segregated with disease; in addition, several single cases of parkinsonism with and without a family history are also described. The number of repeats in symptomatic patients ranged from 33 to 43. Interruption of the CAG repeat with CAA, CGG, or CCG was found in some individuals, possibly stabilizing the repeat structure and accounting for the relative stability of the repeat size across generations in some families; allele length is not necessarily indicative of trinucleotide repeat architecture. Positron emission tomography scanning in one family showed reduced fluorodopa uptake and normal to increased raclopride binding with a rostrocaudal gradient similar to that found in idiopathic PD. This review emphasizes the importance of testing for SCA2 in patients with parkinsonism and a family history of neurodegenerative disorders. Testing for SCA2 is also important in studies of inherited parkinsonism. © 2004 Movement Disorder Society.