Estimation of gene-environment interaction by pooling biospecimens
ABSTRACT Case-control studies are prone to low power for testing gene-environment interactions (GXE) given the need for a sufficient number of individuals on each strata of disease, gene, and environment. We propose a new study design to increase power by strategically pooling biospecimens. Pooling biospecimens allows us to increase the number of subjects significantly, thereby providing substantial increase in power. We focus on a special, although realistic case, where disease and environmental statuses are binary, and gene status is ordinal with each individual having 0, 1, or 2 minor alleles. Through pooling, we obtain an allele frequency for each level of disease and environmental status. Using the allele frequencies, we develop a new methodology for estimating and testing GXE that is comparable to the situation when we have complete data on gene status for each individual. We also explore the measurement process and its effect on the GXE estimator. Using an illustration, we show the effectiveness of pooling with an epidemiologic study, which tests an interaction for fiber and paraoxonase on anovulation. Through simulation, we show that taking 12 pooled measurements from 1000 individuals achieves more power than individually genotyping 500 individuals. Our findings suggest that strategic pooling should be considered when an investigator designs a pilot study to test for a GXE. Published 2012. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Article: The biomarker revolutionStatistics in Medicine 09/2012; 31(22):2513-5. DOI:10.1002/sim.5499 · 2.04 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We conducted a case-referent study of the effect of exposure to bisphenol-A on fetal growth in utero in full-term, live-born singletons in Alberta, Canada. Newborns <10 percentile of expected weight for gestational age and sex were individually matched on sex, maternal smoking and maternal age to referents with weight appropriate to gestational age. Exposure of the fetus to bisphenol-A was estimated from maternal serum collected at 15-16 weeks of gestation. We pooled sera across subjects for exposure assessment, stratified on case-referent status and sex. Individual 1:1 matching was maintained in assembling 69 case and 69 referent pools created from 550 case-referent pairs. Matched pools had an equal number of aliquots from individual women. We used an analytical strategy conditioning on matched set and total pool-level values of covariates to estimate individual-level effects. Pools of cases and referents had identical geometric mean bisphenol-A concentrations (0.5 ng/mL) and similar geometric standard deviations (2.3-2.5). Mean difference in concentration between matched pools was 0 ng/mL, standard deviation: 1 ng/mL. Stratification by sex and control for confounding did not suggest bisphenol-A increased fetal growth restriction. Our analysis does not provide evidence to support the hypothesis that bisphenol-A contributes to fetal growth restriction in full-term singletons.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12/2013; 10(12):7001-7014. DOI:10.3390/ijerph10127001 · 1.99 Impact Factor