Trend tests for case-control studies of genetic markers: power, sample size and robustness

Hum Hered. 2002;53(3):146-52. doi: 10.1159/000064976.


The Cochran-Armitage trend test is commonly used as a genotype-based test for candidate gene association. Corresponding to each underlying genetic model there is a particular set of scores assigned to the genotypes that maximizes its power. When the variance of the test statistic is known, the formulas for approximate power and associated sample size are readily obtained. In practice, however, the variance of the test statistic needs to be estimated. We present formulas for the required sample size to achieve a prespecified power that account for the need to estimate the variance of the test statistic. When the underlying genetic model is unknown one can incur a substantial loss of power when a test suitable for one mode of inheritance is used where another mode is the true one. Thus, tests having good power properties relative to the optimal tests for each model are useful. These tests are called efficiency robust and we study two of them: the maximin efficiency robust test is a linear combination of the standardized optimal tests that has high efficiency and the MAX test, the maximum of the standardized optimal tests. Simulation results of the robustness of these two tests indicate that the more computationally involved MAX test is preferable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Humans
  • Research Design*


  • Genetic Markers