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Abstract

In population-based case-control studies, an attempt is made to identify all incident cases diagnosed in a specified population during a fixed time interval. Assuming that this goal is met allows one to obtain measures of risk other than relative risks. In this paper, we describe three approaches to estimate exposure-specific incidence rates. Approach 1 relies on estimating crude incidence rates of the disease in strata defined, for instance, by age and geographic area, and combining them with relative risk estimates from the case-control data. In approaches 2 and 3, baseline incidence rates and relative risks are estimated jointly. Approach 2 is based on a pseudo-likelihood, while, in approach 3, the problem is regarded as a missing data problem and a full likelihood is maximized. We applied these three approaches to a study of bladder cancer. Our three sets of estimates of exposure-specific incidence rates were in close agreement, while there appeared to be greater precision with approaches 2 and 3.