Role of survivor bias in pancreatic cancer case-control studies

Zhen Huan Hu, John E. Connett, Jian Min Yuan, Kristin E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of survivor bias on pancreatic cancer case-control studies. Methods The authors constructed five case-loss scenarios based on the Iowa Women's Health Study cohort to reflect how case recruitment in population-based studies varies by case survival time. Risk factors for disease incidence included smoking, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, diabetes, and alcohol consumption. Odds ratios (ORs) were estimated by conditional logistic regression and quantitatively compared by the interactions between risk factors and 3-month survival time. Additionally, Kaplan–Meier estimates for overall survival were compared within the subset cohort of pancreatic cancer cases. Results BMI and waist circumference showed a significant inverse relationship with survival time. Decreasing trends in ORs for BMI and waist circumference were observed with increasing case survival time. The interaction between BMI and survival time based on a cutpoint of 3 months was significant (P <.01) as was the interaction between waist circumference and survival time (P <.01). Conclusions The findings suggested that case losses could result in survivor bias causing underestimated odds ratios for both BMI and waist circumference, whereas other risk factors were not significantly affected by case losses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: Grant support for the IWHS was from the National Cancer Institute, grant RO1 CA39742.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Body mass index
  • Case control study
  • Pancreatic neoplasm
  • Survivor bias
  • Waist circumference


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of survivor bias in pancreatic cancer case-control studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this