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Assessing Overall Risk in Reproductive Experiments

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Toxicologists are often interested in assessing the joint effect of an exposure on multiple reproductive endpoints, including early loss, fetal death, and malformation. Exposures that occur prior to mating or extremely early in development can adversely affect the number of implantation sites or fetuses that form within each dam and may even prevent pregnancy. A simple approach for assessing overall adverse effects in such studies is to consider fetuses or implants that fail to develop due to exposure as missing data. The missing data can be imputed, and standard methods for the analysis of quantal response data can then be used for quantitative risk assessment or testing. In this article, a new bias-corrected imputation procedure is proposed and evaluated. The procedure is straightforward to implement in standard statistical packages and has excellent operating characteristics when used in combination with a marginal model fit with generalized estimating equations. The methods are applied to data from a reproductive toxicity study of Nitrofurazone conducted by the National Toxicology Program.

Keywords: Dominant lethal assay; early loss; multiple imputation; reproductive toxicity; teratology

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Biostatistics Branch, MD A3-03, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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