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Keywords:

  • case-control design;
  • quantitative trait;
  • retrospective likelihood;
  • semi-parametric odds ratio model

Abstract

Extreme-value sampling design that samples subjects with extremely large or small quantitative trait values is commonly used in genetic association studies. Samples in such designs are often treated as “cases” and “controls” and analyzed using logistic regression. Such a case-control analysis ignores the potential dose-response relationship between the quantitative trait and the underlying trait locus and thus may lead to loss of power in detecting genetic association. An alternative approach to analyzing such data is to model the dose-response relationship by a linear regression model. However, parameter estimation from this model can be biased, which may lead to inflated type I errors. We propose a robust and efficient approach that takes into consideration of both the biased sampling design and the potential dose-response relationship. Extensive simulations demonstrate that the proposed method is more powerful than the traditional logistic regression analysis and is more robust than the linear regression analysis. We applied our method to the analysis of a candidate gene association study on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) which includes study subjects with extremely high or low HDL-C levels. Using our method, we identified several SNPs showing a stronger evidence of association with HDL-C than the traditional case-control logistic regression analysis. Our results suggest that it is important to appropriately model the quantitative traits and to adjust for the biased sampling when dose-response relationship exists in extreme-value sampling designs. Genet. Epidemiol. 2011.  © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.35:823-830, 2011