The Epidemiology Work Group at the Workshop on Future Research for Improving Risk Assessment Methods, Of Mice, Men, and Models, held August 16 to 18, 2000, at Snowmass Village, Aspen, Colorado, concluded that in order to improve the utility of epidemiologic studies for risk assessment, methodologic research is needed in the following areas: (1) aspects of epidemiologic study designs that affect dose-response estimation; (2) alternative methods for estimating dose in human studies; and (3) refined methods for dose-response modeling for epidemiologic data. Needed research in aspects of epidemiologic study design includes recognition and control of study biases, identification of susceptible subpopulations, choice of exposure metrics, and choice of epidemiologic risk parameters. Much of this research can be done with existing data. Research needed to improve determinants of dose in human studies includes additional individual-level data (e.g., diet, co-morbidity), development of more extensive human data for physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) dose modeling, tissue registries to increase the availability of tissue for studies of exposure/dose and susceptibility biomarkers, and biomarker data to assess exposures in humans and animals. Research needed on dose-response modeling of human studies includes more widespread application of flexible statistical methods (e.g., general additive models), development of methods to compensate for epidemiologic bias in dose-response models, improved biological models using human data, and evaluation of the benchmark dose using human data.
Herman J. Gibb, National Center for Environmental Assessment (8601D), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 20460 Washington, DC