A meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies with interval-censored exposure data: application to chorionic villus sampling
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Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a valued method of prenatal diagnosis that is often preferred over amniocentesis because it can be performed earlier, but which has also raised concern over a possible association with increased risk of terminal transverse limb deficiency (TTLD). We present and apply a meta-analytic method for estimating a combined dose-response effect from a series of case-control and cohort studies in which the exposure variable is interval-censored. Assuming coarsening at random for the interval-censoring, and calling upon the familiar result of Cornfield to pool case-control and cohort information on the association between a rare binary outcome and a multilevel exposure variable, we form a likelihood-based model to assess the effect of gestational age at the time of CVS on the presence or absence of a rare birth defect. Effect estimates are computed with a variant of the EM algorithm termed the method of weights, which enables the use of standard weighted regression software. Our findings suggest that CVS exposure at early gestational age leads to an increased risk of TTLD.
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