DOI: 10.1111/ahg.12522 ISSN: 0003-4800

Reassessing the association of MUC5B with survival in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Siyang Cai, Richard J. Allen, Louise V. Wain, Frank Dudbridge
  • Genetics (clinical)
  • Genetics


A variant in the mucin 5B gene (MUC5B) is strongly associated with the risk of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, the same variant is associated with increased survival time. Previous work suggested that this may be explained by index event bias, with the true effect being to decrease survival. Here, we reassessed this claim using more recent methods and datasets. We found that the statistical assumptions of the previous analysis did not hold, and instead, we applied recent methods of corrected weighted least squares, MR‐RAPS and Slope‐hunter to both the previous data and an updated consortium meta‐analysis. However, these analyses did not yield robust evidence for increased or decreased survival. In simulations of a true effect of decreased survival, we did not observe any realistic scenario in which index event bias led to an observed effect of increased survival. We therefore regard as unsafe the claim that MUC5B has a true effect of decreased survival. Alternative explanations should be sought to explain the observed association with increased survival.

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