What are the limits of epidemiologic studies of hormones and breast cancer risk?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019
  • Author: Graham A Colditz, MD, DrPH; Chief Editor: Chandandeep Nagi, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

In contrast to clinical needs, in which discerning grossly abnormal from normal hormone levels is the focus, epidemiologic studies are usually aimed at relating modest differences within the normal range of levels to risk of subsequent cancer. Considerable laboratory error has been reported in studies of assay reproducibility. Low reproducibility could result in true (and important) exposure/disease associations being missed. Varying sensitivities and specificities of different laboratory assays have also complicated the comparison of results between studies.


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