Retrospective analysis of case-control studies

when the population is in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium

 (Statistics in Medicine, to appear, 2004)


K. F. Cheng and W. J. Lin



 Association analysis of genetic polymorphisms has been mostly performed in a case-control setting in connection with the traditional logistic regression analysis. However, in a case-control study, subjects are recruited according to their disease status and their past exposures are determined. Thus the natural model for making inference is the retrospective model. In this paper, we discuss some retrospective models and give maximum likelihood estimators of exposure effects and estimators of asymptotic variances, when the frequency distribution of exposures in controls contains information about the parameters of interest. Two situations about the control population are considered in this paper: (a) the control population or its subpopulations are in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; and (b) genetic and environmental factors are independent in the control population. Using the concept of asymptotic relative efficiency, we shall show the precision advantages of such retrospective analysis over the traditional prospective analysis. Maximum likelihood estimates and variance estimates under retrospective models are simple in computation and thus can be applied in many practical applications. We present one real example to illustrate our methods.

 KEY WORDS: case-control study; Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; logistic regression; maximum likelihood estimate; odds ratio; retrospective model.