Navigation Links
Awareness of epidemiology's limitations could reduce impact of false-positive cancer results
Date:7/8/2008

False-positive results are an inherent risk in cancer research, particularly in observational epidemiology studies. The frequency and impact of misleading results can be mitigated if researchers use more exacting standards when interpreting and reporting results, according to a commentary in the July 8 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Additionally, the impact of false-positive results could be lessened if the researchers and other stakeholders, including journal editors, the media, and consumers, evaluated the results with a more critical eye.

In the commentary, Paolo Boffetta, M.D., of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and other senior researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Italy, discuss some of the key pitfalls of epidemiological research. For example, the authors describe what has happened over the last decade and a half after one small study reported an apparently strong association between pesticide residues in women's blood and the risk of breast cancer. Since then, seven more studies have examined the association, and successive meta-analyses that incorporated the accumulating data showed a decreasing relative risk from a more than four-fold increased risk to no increased risk. That pattern of decreasing summary risk indicates that the initial observation was incorrect.

Common problems that can lead to the occurrence and reporting of false positives include chance, systematic errors in the design or analysis of a study that introduce various types of biases, inadequate accounting for confounding variables, multiple subgroup analyses, and a preference amongst authors and editors to report positive, novel, or statistically significant results rather than results that suggest no association. Although researchers and readers may think these factors have a relatively small impact on the outcome of a study, the authors note that a previous analysis demonstrated that unmeasured and residual confounding could generate up to a 2-fold apparent increase in risk, even though the variable being examined did not have any real risk associated with it.

For each of these issues, the authors suggest ways to mitigate the problem. For example, they suggest that researchers should not give undue emphasis to the results of post-hoc and subgroup analyses or emphasize outcomes of borderline statistical significance. "Epidemiologists by training are most often aware of the methodological limitations of observational studies, particularly those done by others, yet when it comes to practice, and especially the interpretation of their own study results, methodological vigilance is often absent," the authors write.

Moreover, both researchers and readers should view novel results critically. "One of the simplest yet potentially most effective remedies involves increasing emphasis on skepticism when assessing study results, particularly when they are new."


'/>"/>

Contact: Liz Savage
jncimedia@oxfordjournals.org
301-841-1287
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. The Trevor Project Raises Lifesaving Proceeds, Awareness at Trevor New York Benefit
2. Lyfe Jennings Launches Summer Tour and HIV/AIDS Awareness Initiative
3. Combined Insurance: Consider Supplemental Accident Insurance and Disability Insurance During Safety Awareness Month
4. Newly Formed Consortium to Combat Medical Fraud Announces National Agenda to Intensify Fight Against Health Care Fraud Goals: Collaboration Across Industries; Alignment of Resources; Increased Awareness Among Public and Private Stakeholders Including Fede
5. Verizon Wireless Continues Support of National HIV Testing Awareness Campaign
6. CVS Caremark Employees Raise $1 Million and Increase Awareness for Children with Disabilities through Easter Seals Walk With Me Events Nationwide
7. Thousands Gather for the Walk from Obesity - Walk on the Capitol in Washington, DC, to Raise Awareness of Obesity
8. Hope, Volume One, a CD benefiting Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), to Be released on June 24, 2008
9. Movement Against Cancer Launches An All-Russia Cancer Awareness Campaign to Promote Early Screening and Cancer Detection Programs in Russias Regions
10. CafePress Supports Stand Up To Cancer With Online Store to Help Raise Awareness and Funds for Research
11. Tim Russerts Death Provides Important Opportunity for News Media to Increase Public Awareness of How to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight loss fitness plan that ... the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, , All ... They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as ... of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to ... one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 ... ... helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic ... the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic ... many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping ... released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg ... Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among ... Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ANGELES , June 23, 2016 ... CAPR ), a biotechnology company focused ... therapeutics, today announced that patient enrollment in its ... in Duchenne) has exceeded 50% of its 24-patient ... enrollment in the third quarter of 2016, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , , , WHEN: , , ... , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with free registration ... PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice President of ... Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such as innovative ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Revolutionary ... Oticon , industry leaders in advanced audiology ... of Oticon Opn ™, the world,s first internet ... possibilities for IoT devices.      (Photo: ... introduces a number of ,world firsts,: , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: