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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999 Dec;8(12):1043-50.

Misclassification in case-control studies of gene-environment interactions: assessment of bias and sample size.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Abstract

In studies of gene-environment interactions, exposure misclassification can lead to bias in the estimation of an interaction effect and increased sample size. The magnitude of the bias and the consequent increase in sample size for fixed misclassification probabilities are highly dependent on the prevalence of the misclassified factor and on the interaction model. This paper describes a relatively simple approach to assess the impact of misclassification on bias in the estimation of multiplicative or additive interactions and on sample size requirements. Applications of this method illustrate that even small errors in the assessment of environmental or genetic factors can result in biased interaction parameters and substantially increased sample size requirements that can compromise the feasibility of the study. Also, an example is provided where nondifferential misclassification biases an additive interaction parameter away from the null value, even under conditions where a multiplicative interaction parameter will always be biased toward the null value. Efforts to improve the accuracy in measuring both genetic and environmental factors are critical for the valid assessment of gene-environment interactions in case-control studies.

PMID:
10613335
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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