The Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration (ERFC) is a CEU-led consortium of >130 prospective studies from >30 countries that has collated and harmonised individual-participant data (IPD) from a total of ~2.5M participants to study risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and cause-specific mortality in greater detail by IPD meta-analysis. Risk factors studied have included circulating lipid markers, inflammatory markers, glycaemia markers, adiposity markers, diabetes, and cardiometabolic multimorbidity. Analyses concern aetiological hypothesis or risk prediction assessment in subsets of studies/participants with relevant data, with methodological developments occurring in parallel as necessary. Aetiological analyses primarily focus on assessing important features of exposure-outcome associations, including: the shape of dose-response relationships; the magnitude of independent associations with consistent adjustment for confounding factors across studies; correction for regression dilution bias in both exposure and confounders; and assessing potential heterogeneity by individual and study level characteristics. Risk prediction analyses assess and compare the predictive performance of different risk models in the IPD meta-analysis context using measures of discrimination, calibration, and reclassification. Public health modelling approaches are used to help more meaningfully convey inferences, such as estimates of the number of people needed to be screened and treated to prevent 1 cardiovascular event over 10 years with different screening options; or estimates of potential years of life lost due to a risk factor increasing the risk of premature death.
The ERFC coordinating centre has been underpinned by programme grants from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) since 2003. A variety of funding sources have supported recruitment, follow-up, and laboratory measurements in the studies contributing data to the ERFC as acknowledged here.