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European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study: rationale, design and population characteristics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007

N Slimani
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC–WHO), 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
R Kaaks
Affiliation:
Hormones and Cancer Group, IARC–WHO, Lyon, France
P Ferrari
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC–WHO), 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
C Casagrande
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC–WHO), 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
F Clavel-Chapelon
Affiliation:
INSERM, U521, Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France
G Lotze
Affiliation:
Division of Clinical Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, Germany
A Kroke
Affiliation:
German Institute of Human Nutrition, Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Germany
D Trichopoulos
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece
A Trichopoulou
Affiliation:
Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece
C Lauria
Affiliation:
Cancer Registry, ‘Civile – M.P. Arezzo’ Hosptial, Ragusa, Italy
M Bellegotti
Affiliation:
Epidemiology Unit, National Cancer Institute, Milan, Italy
MC Ocké
Affiliation:
Department for Chronic Diseases Epidemiology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
PHM Peeters
Affiliation:
Julius Center for General Practice and Patient Oriented Research, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
D Engeset
Affiliation:
Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway
E Lund
Affiliation:
Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway
A Agudo
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain
N Larrañaga
Affiliation:
Public Health Division of Gipuzkoa, Department of Health of the Basque Government, San Sebastian, Spain
I Mattisson
Affiliation:
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Orthopaedics, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
C Andren
Affiliation:
Department of Medicine, Surgery and Orthopaedics, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
I Johansson
Affiliation:
Department of Nutritional Research, University of Umeå, Sweden
G Davey
Affiliation:
Cancer Research UK, Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, UK
AA Welch
Affiliation:
Institute of Public Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK
K Overvad
Affiliation:
Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark
A Tjønneland
Affiliation:
Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark
WA van Staveren
Affiliation:
Department of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands
R Saracci
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC–WHO), 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
E Riboli
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC–WHO), 150 cours Albert-Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which covers a large cohort of half a million men and women from 23 European centres in 10 Western European countries, was designed to study the relationship between diet and the risk of chronic diseases, particularly cancer. Information on usual individual dietary intake was assessed using different validated dietary assessment methods across participating countries. In order to adjust for possible systematic over- or underestimation in dietary intake measurements and correct for attenuation bias in relative risk estimates, a calibration approach was developed. This approach involved an additional dietary assessment common across study populations to re-express individual dietary intakes according to the same reference scale. A single 24-hour diet recall was therefore collected, as the EPIC reference calibration method, from a stratified random sample of 36 900 subjects from the entire EPIC cohort, using a software program (EPIC-SOFT) specifically designed to standardise the dietary measurements across study populations. This paper describes the design and populations of the calibration sub-studies set up in the EPIC centres. In addition, to assess whether the calibration sub-samples were representative of the entire group of EPIC cohorts, a series of subjects’ characteristics known possibly to influence dietary intakes was compared in both population groups. This was the first time that calibration sub-studies had been set up in a large multi-centre European study. These studies showed that, despite certain inherent methodological and logistic constraints, a study design such as this one works relatively well in practice. The average response in the calibration study was 78.3% and ranged from 46.5% to 92.5%. The calibration population differed slightly from the overall cohort but the differences were small for most characteristics and centres. The overall results suggest that, after adjustment for age, dietary intakes estimated from calibration samples can reasonably be interpreted as representative of the main cohorts in most of the EPIC centres.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © CABI Publishing 2002

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