Robust Score Tests With Missing Data in Genomics Studies

Kin Yau Wong, Donglin Zeng, D. Y. Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of genomic data is often complicated by the presence of missing values, which may arise due to cost or other reasons. The prevailing approach of single imputation is generally invalid if the imputation model is misspecified. In this article, we propose a robust score statistic based on imputed data for testing the association between a phenotype and a genomic variable with (partially) missing values. We fit a semiparametric regression model for the genomic variable against an arbitrary function of the linear predictor in the phenotype model and impute each missing value by its estimated posterior expectation. We show that the score statistic with such imputed values is asymptotically unbiased under general missing-data mechanisms, even when the imputation model is misspecified. We develop a spline-based method to estimate the semiparametric imputation model and derive the asymptotic distribution of the corresponding score statistic with a consistent variance estimator using sieve approximation theory and empirical process theory. The proposed test is computationally feasible regardless of the number of independent variables in the imputation model. We demonstrate the advantages of the proposed method over existing methods through extensive simulation studies and provide an application to a major cancer genomics study. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1778-1786
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Statistical Association
Issue number528
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Association tests
  • Imputation
  • Integrative analysis
  • Multiple genomics platforms
  • Semiparametric models
  • Sieve estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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