, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 105-106
Date: 24 Dec 2008

A plea for rigorous and honest science: false positive findings and biased presentations in epidemiological studies

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It is well recognized that weak exposure estimates may hamper the identification of effects in epidemiological investigations (Checkoway et al. 2004; Rothman et al. 2008). However, toxicologists and regulators should be aware of recent discussions about false positive findings generated by epidemiological studies and that these biased results were reported rather uncritically in peer-reviewed journals. Boffetta and co-workers showed in their commentary that publication bias was at work in studies on dioxin exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, they identified overstated relative risk estimates in a couple of epidemiological studies on DDE and breast cancer, acrylonitrile and lung cancer, coffee and pancreatic cancer, induced abortion and breast cancer and herpes simplex/chlamydia exposure and cervical cancer (Boffetta et al. 2008). The often reported epidemiological association of passive smoking and breast cancer was proved to be an artefact probably caused by a reporting bias in studies ...