Case-control studies provide a powerful approach for detecting disease susceptibility loci that have only a weak to moderate impact on the risk of disease, or markers that are in linkage disequilibrium with such loci. However, since any association detected in a case-control study may result from uncontrolled confounding, evidence for disease-marker associations obtained from such studies must be confirmed by alternative methods. Since studies that use the transmission/disequilibrium test or TDT are frequently employed to confirm disease-marker associations detected in case-control studies, data are increasingly available from both case-control studies and "TDT studies" of the same disease-marker association. It would, therefore, be useful to have a single measure of the magnitude of the disease-marker association that would allow for comparison of results from these two study designs. Such a measure could also be used to estimate minimum sample size requirements for TDT studies of previously reported disease-marker associations. An obvious measure of the disease-marker association in TDT studies is the frequency (T) with which heterozygous parents transmit the putative, high-risk marker allele to affected offspring. In this paper, it is shown that T can also be estimated from case-control data with a minimum of assumptions, and that T is the critical parameter for determining power and estimating sample sizes for the TDT.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.