Comparing Analytic Methods for Longitudinal GWAS and a Case-Study Evaluating Chemotherapy Course Length in Pediatric AML. A Report from the Children's Oncology Group.
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<p>Regression analysis is commonly used in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to test genotype-phenotype associations but restricts the phenotype to a single observation for each individual. There is an increasing need for analytic methods for longitudinally collected phenotype data. Several methods have been proposed to perform longitudinal GWAS for family-based studies but few methods are described for unrelated populations. We compared the performance of three statistical approaches for longitudinal GWAS in unrelated subjectes: (1) principal component-based generalized estimating equations (PC-GEE); (2) principal component-based linear mixed effects model (PC-LMEM); (3) kinship coefficient matrix-based linear mixed effects model (KIN-LMEM), in a study of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the duration of 4 courses of chemotherapy in 624 unrelated children with de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) genotyped on the Illumina 2.5 M OmniQuad from the COG studies AAML0531 and AAML1031. In this study we observed an exaggerated type I error with PC-GEE in SNPs with minor allele frequencies < 0.05, wheras KIN-LMEM produces more than expected type II errors. PC-MEM showed balanced type I and type II errors for the observed vs. expected P-values in comparison to competing approaches. In general, a strong concordance was observed between the P-values with the different approaches, in particular among P < 0.01 where the between-method AUCs exceed 99%. PC-LMEM accounts for genetic relatedness and correlations among repeated phenotype measures, shows minimal genome-wide inflation of type I errors, and yields high power. We therefore recommend PC-LMEM as a robust analytic approach for GWAS of longitudinal data in unrelated populations.</p>