Journal Article

Flexible Matching Strategies to Increase Power and Efficiency to Detect and Estimate Gene-Environment Interactions in Case-Control Studies

Til Stürmer and Hermann Brenner

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 155, issue 7, pages 593-602
Published in print April 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online April 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/155.7.593
Flexible Matching Strategies to Increase Power and Efficiency to Detect and Estimate Gene-Environment Interactions in Case-Control Studies

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Lack of power is a pertinent problem in many case-control studies of gene-environment interactions. The authors recently introduced the concept of flexible matching strategies with varying proportions of a matching factor among selected controls (degree of matching) to increase the power and efficiency of case-control studies. In this study, they extended the concept of flexible matching strategies to the field of gene-environment interactions. They assessed the power and efficiency of such studies to detect and estimate gene-environment interactions under a variety of assumptions regarding the prevalence and effects of the environmental exposure and the genetic susceptibility as well as their association in the population. For each set of parameters, 10,000 case-control studies were simulated using varying degrees of matching. Traditional frequency matching increased the power and precision in most scenarios, but even greater gains were often obtained by increasing the prevalence of the environmental exposure in controls above the one in cases. The authors concluded that flexible matching strategies can increase the power and efficiency of case-control studies to detect and estimate gene-environment interactions compared with traditional frequency matching and therefore might help to alleviate the notorious lack of power of these studies in specific situations.

Keywords: case-control studies; confidence intervals; efficiency; environmental exposure; epidemiologic methods; genetic predisposition; research design; sample size; CCRATIO, control-to-case ratio; DM, degree of matching; INT, gene-environment interaction; ORED|g, odds ratio of exposure-disease association in the absence of the genetic susceptibility; ORED|G, odds ratio of exposure-disease association in the presence of the genetic susceptibility, OREG, odds ratio of exposure-genetic susceptibility association in the population; ORGD|e, odds ratio of genetic susceptibility-disease association in the absence of exposure; PE, prevalence of environmental exposure; PG, prevalence of genetic susceptibility.

Journal Article.  5133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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