Article

# Methods for investigating gene-environment interactions in candidate pathway and genome-wide association studies.

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, 90089-9011, USA.
(Impact Factor: 6.63). 04/2010; 31:21-36. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103619
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite the considerable enthusiasm about the yield of novel and replicated discoveries of genetic associations from the new generation of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), the proportion of the heritability of most complex diseases that have been studied to date remains small. Some of this "dark matter" could be due to gene-environment (G x E) interactions or more complex pathways involving multiple genes and exposures. We review the basic epidemiologic study design and statistical analysis approaches to studying G x E interactions individually and then consider more comprehensive approaches to studying entire pathways or GWAS data. In addition to the usual issues in genetic association studies, particular care is needed in exposure assessment, and very large sample sizes are required. Although hypothesis-driven, pathway-based and agnostic GWA study approaches are generally viewed as opposite poles, we suggest that the two can be usefully married using hierarchical modeling strategies that exploit external pathway knowledge in mining genome-wide data.

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Available from: Duncan C Thomas, May 22, 2015
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ABSTRACT: For many complex diseases, prognosis is of essential importance. It has been shown that, beyond the main effects of genetic (G) and environmental (E) risk factors, the gene-environment (G$\times$E) interactions also play a critical role. In practice, the prognosis outcome data can be contaminated, and most of the existing methods are not robust to data contamination. In the literature, it has been shown that even a single contaminated observation can lead to severely biased model estimation. In this study, we describe prognosis using an accelerated failure time (AFT) model. An exponential squared loss is proposed to accommodate possible data contamination. A penalization approach is adopted for regularized estimation and marker selection. The proposed method is realized using an effective coordinate descent (CD) and minorization maximization (MM) algorithm. Simulation shows that without contamination, the proposed method has performance comparable to or better than the unrobust alternative. With contamination, it outperforms the unrobust alternative and, under certain scenarios, can be superior to the robust method based on quantile regression. The proposed method is applied to the analysis of TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) lung cancer data. It identifies interactions different from those using the alternatives. The identified marker have important implications and satisfactory stability.
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