Validation of the Accuracy of Self-Reported ABO Blood Types in the Japan Nurses’ Health Study

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Haematology, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan.

2 Department of Laboratory Sciences, Graduate School of Health Sciences, Gunma University, Maebashi, Japan.

3 Big Data Centre for Integrative Analysis, Gunma University Initiative for Advanced Research, Maebashi, Japan.

4 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Background: The associations between ABO blood type and risk of diseases including cancer have been reported
from epidemiological studies. Self-reporting is one of the most widely used methods of collecting the ABO blood type
information. Verifying the accuracy of self-reporting is important to consider measurement errors. We aimed to conduct
validation of self-reported ABO blood types in the Japan Nurses’ Health Study (JNHS), which is a large prospective
cohort study. Methods: The concordance rate between self-reported and serologically or genetically inferred ABO
blood groups was investigated for a subsample of 41 subjects from the Gunma Nurses’ Health Study, which was a pilot
cohort study that preceded the JNHS. The presence of antibodies to A or B antigens in serum (serological test) and
allele types of the ABO gene (genotyping test) were determined by using frozen blood samples that were preserved
for approximately 7 years. ABO blood types were determined from these tests and compared with self-reported data.
Results: All of the nurses reported that their ABO blood groups were concordant with those determined by a serological
and/or genotyping test. Self-reported ABO blood types of 35 of 38 (92.1%) participants were consistent with the results
from serological typing, while the answers of three participants were not. In these three participants, ABO genotypes
that were inferred from genotyping of three single nucleotide polymorphisms in ABO loci perfectly matched with their
self-reported ABO types, and all of these were O-type. Conclusions: Japanese health professionals report their blood
type with a high degree of accuracy. Special attention should be paid to the O-type group in serological analysis of
blood samples that have been preserved for several years in longitudinal studies.


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