Minimum Cost Estimation of a Baseline Survey for a Molecular Epidemiology Cohort Study: Collecting Participants in a Model Region in Japan

J Epidemiol. 2016 Oct 5;26(10):522-529. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20150163. Epub 2016 Mar 19.


Background: Some recent molecular epidemiology studies of the effects of genetic and environmental factors on human health have required the enrollment of more than 100 000 participants and the involvement of regional study offices across the country. Although regional study office investigators play a critical role in these studies, including the acquisition of funds, this role is rarely discussed.

Methods: We first differentiated the functions of the regional and central study offices. We then investigated the minimum number of items required and approximate cost of a molecular epidemiology study enrolling 7400 participants from a model region with a population of 100 000 for a 4-year baseline survey using a standard protocol developed based on the protocol of Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study for the Next Generation.

Results: The functions of the regional study office were identified, and individual expenses were itemized. The total cost of the 4-year baseline survey was 153 million yen, excluding consumption tax. Accounting difficulties in conducting the survey were clarified.

Conclusions: We investigated a standardized example of the tasks and total actual costs of a regional study office. Our approach is easy to utilize and will help improve the management of regional study offices in future molecular epidemiology studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / economics*