A Weight of Evidence Approach for Selecting Exposure Biomarkers for Biomonitoring

  • Publication Date :
  • Publication Type : Journal Article
  • Author(s) : Zelenka MP, Barr DB, Nicolich MJ, Lewis RJ, Bird MG, Letinski DJ, Metcalf SW, O’Lone RB
  • Journal Name : Biomarkers

Biomarkers. 2011;16(1):65-73

Context: It is known that there are usually several biomarkers and/or medium combinations that can be applied to answer a specific exposure question. To help determine an appropriate combination for the specific question, we have developed a weight-of-evidence Framework that provides a relative appropriateness score for competing combinations.

Methods: The Framework is based on an expert assessor’s evaluation of the relevance and suitability of the biomarker and medium for the question based on a set of criteria. We provide a computer based modeling tool to guide the researcher through the process.

Results: We present an example with six biomarkers of benzene exposure in one matrix; the six are either the most commonly used biomarkers and/or have recent widespread usage. The example clearly demonstrates the usefulness of the Framework for scoring the choices, as well as the transparency of the method that provides the basis for discussion.

Conclusions: The Framework provides for the first time a method to transparently document the rationale behind selecting, from among a set of alternatives, the most scientifically supportable exposure biomarker to address a specific biomonitoring question, thus providing a reproducible account of expert opinions on the suitability of a biomarker.

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