Hum Hered 2007;63:168–174

Imputation of Missing Ages in Pedigree Data

Balise R.R.a · Chen Y.b · Dite G.c · Felberg A.a · Sun L.d · Ziogas A.e · Whittemore A.S.a
aDepartment of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., bDivision of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, N.Y., USA; cCentre for Genetic Epidemiology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; dDepartment of Epidemiology and Statistics, Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Ont., Canada, and eEpidemiology Division, University of California, Irvine, Calif., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Disease onset
  • Cancer
  • Missing data
  • Imputation methods

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background: In human pedigree data age at disease occurrence frequently is missing and is imputed using various methods. However, little is known about the performance of these methods when applied to families. In particular, there is little information about the level of agreement between imputed and actual values of temporal data and their effects on inferences. Methods: We performed two evaluations of five imputation methods used to generate complete data for repositories to be shared by many investigators. Two of the methods are mean substitution methods, two are regression methods and one is a multiple imputation method based on one of the regression methods. To evaluate the methods, we randomly deleted the years of disease diagnosis of some men in a sample of pedigrees ascertained as part of a prostate cancer study. In the first evaluation, we used the five methods to impute the missing diagnosis years and evaluated agreement between imputed and actual values. In the second evaluation, we compared agreement between regression coefficients estimated using imputed diagnosis years with those estimated using the actual years. Results/Conclusions: For both evaluations, we found optimal or near-optimal performance from a regression method that imputes a man’s diagnosis year based on the year of birth and year of last observation of all affected men with complete data. The multiple imputation analogue of this method also performed well.

Copyright © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

 goto top of outline References
  1. Allison PD: Missing data. London, SAGE, 2001.
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    External Resources

  5. Schafer JL, Graham JW: Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychol Methods 2002;7:147–177.
  6. SAS 9.1.2. Cary, NC, SAS Institute, Inc., 2004.
  7. Whittemore AS, Kolonel LN, Wu AH, John EM, Gallagher RP, Howe GR, Burch JD, Hankin J, Dreon DM, West DW, Teh C-Z, Paffenbarger RS, Jr: Prostate cancer in relation to diet, physical activity, and body size in blacks, whites, and Asians in the United States and Canada. J Natl Cancer Inst 1995;87:652–661.

 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Raymond R. Balise, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Health Research and Policy
HRP Redwood Building, Room T226
Stanford, CA 94305-5405 (USA)
Tel. +1 650 724 2602, Fax +1 650 725 6951, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Received: March 3, 2006
Accepted after revision: November 15, 2006
Published online: February 19, 2007
Number of Print Pages : 7
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 7

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Human Heredity (International Journal of Human and Medical Genetics)

Vol. 63, No. 3-4, Year 2007 (Cover Date: March 2007)

Journal Editor: Devoto, M. (Philadelphia, Pa.)
ISSN: 0001–5652 (print), 1423–0062 (Online)

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