Survival Curves Projection and Benefit Time Points Estimation using a New Statistical Method - Pages 28-40
Published: 9 May 2020
Abstract: Survival analysis concerns the analysis of time-to-event data and it is essential to study in fields such as oncology, the survival function, S(t), calculation is usually used, but in the presence of competing risks (presence of competing events), is necessary introduce other statistical concepts and methods, as is the Cumulative incidence function CI(t). This is defined as the proportion of subjects with an event time less than or equal to. The present study describe a methodology that enables to obtain numerically a shape of CI(t) curves and estimate the benefit time points (BTP) as the time (t) when a 90, 95 or 99% is reached for the maximum value of CI(t). Once you get the numerical function of CI(t), it can be projected for an infinite time, with all the limitations that it entails. To do this task the R function Weibull.cumulative.incidence() is proposed. In a first step these function transforms the survival function (S(t)) obtained using the Kaplan–Meier method to CI(t). In a second step the best fit function of CI(t) is calculated in order to estimate BTP using two procedures, 1) Parametric function: estimates a Weibull growth curve of 4 parameters by means a non-linear regression (nls) procedure or 2) Non parametric method: using Local Polynomial Regression (LPR) or LOESS fitting. Two examples are presented and developed using Weibull.cumulative.incidence() function in order to present the method. The methodology presented will be useful for performing better tracking of the evolution of the diseases (especially in the case of the presence of competitive risks), project time to infinity and it is possible that this methodology can help identify the causes of current trends in diseases like cancer. We think that BTP points can be important in large diseases like cardiac illness or cancer to seek the inflection point of the disease, treatment associate or speculate how is the course of the disease and change the treatments at those points. These points can be important to take medical decisions furthermore.
Keywords: Survival function, projection, Weibull growth curve, non linear regression.