Table of Contents
ISRN Oncology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 325409, 5 pages
Research Article

Reliability of Family Proxy Data for Studies of Malignant Mesothelioma: Results from the ATSDR Pilot Surveillance

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Toxicology and Health Sciences, Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA

Received 14 February 2013; Accepted 6 March 2013

Academic Editors: N. Fujimoto, L. Mutti, and A. H. Wolfson

Copyright © 2013 Natalia Melnikova et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate the validity of proxy interviews in obtaining information on persons with rapidly fatal diseases such as malignant mesothelioma (MM). Methods. Persons with MM diagnosed in 2002 through 2005 in New York and New Jersey and 1997–2004 in Wisconsin were eligible for inclusion in the project. Persons with MM and their family member proxy were interviewed using the same questionnaire designed by ATSDR to collect information on potential direct or indirect occupational and environmental exposure to asbestos, genetic, and health related malignancy predisposition, and exposure to tobacco products. Descriptive statistics and the McNemar/Durkalski test were used to analyze 33 matched pairs. Results. The overall study confirmed a generally high ability of proxies to give interviews of comparable quality and completeness when asked dichotomous questions. The reliability of information collected from proxies varied by topic and family relationship. Conclusions. Family proxy interviews, using dichotomous responses, can serve as an acceptable source of information about health and exposure-related risk factors for MM.