In the investigation of disease dynamics, the effect of covariates on the hazard function is a major topic. Some recent smoothed estimation methods have been proposed, both frequentist and Bayesian, based on the relationship between penalized splines and mixed models theory. These approaches are also motivated by the possibility of using automatic procedures for determining the optimal amount of smoothing. However, estimation algorithms involve an analytically intractable hazard function, and thus require ad-hoc software routines. We propose a more user-friendly alternative, consisting in regularized estimation of piecewise exponential models by Bayesian P-splines. A further facilitation is that widespread Bayesian software, such as WinBUGS, can be used. The aim is assessing the robustness of this approach with respect to different prior functions and penalties. A large dataset from breast cancer patients, where results from validated clinical studies are available, is used as a benchmark to evaluate the reliability of the estimates. A second dataset from a small case series of sarcoma patients is used for evaluating the performances of the PE model as a tool for exploratory analysis. Concerning breast cancer data, the estimates are robust with respect to priors and penalties, and consistent with clinical knowledge. Concerning soft tissue sarcoma data, the estimates of the hazard function are sensitive with respect to the prior for the smoothing parameter, whereas the estimates of regression coefficients are robust. In conclusion, Gibbs sampling results an efficient computational strategy. The issue of the sensitivity with respect to the priors concerns only the estimates of the hazard function, and seems more likely to occur when non-large case series are investigated, calling for tailored solutions.
Estimation of the Piecewise Exponential Model by Bayesian P-Splines via Gibbs Sampling: Robustness and Reliability of Posterior Estimates / G. Marano, P. Boracchi, E.M. Biganzoli. - In: OPEN JOURNAL OF STATISTICS. - ISSN 2161-718X. - 6:3(2016), pp. 451-468.
|Titolo:||Estimation of the Piecewise Exponential Model by Bayesian P-Splines via Gibbs Sampling: Robustness and Reliability of Posterior Estimates|
MARANO, GIUSEPPE (Primo)
BORACCHI, PATRIZIA (Secondo)
|Parole Chiave:||survival analysis; hazard smoothing; bayesian p-splines; piecewise exponential model; time-dependent effects|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore MED/01 - Statistica Medica|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojs.2016.63041|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|