A competing risks model for correlated data based on the subdistribution hazard
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Family-based follow-up study designs are important in epidemiology as they enable investigations of disease aggregation within families. Such studies are subject to methodological complications since data may include multiple endpoints as well as intra-family correlation. The methods herein are developed for the analysis of age of onset with multiple disease types for family-based follow-up studies. The proposed model expresses the marginalized frailty model in terms of the subdistribution hazards (SDH). As with Pipper and Martinussen’s (Scand J Stat 30:509–521, 2003) model, the proposed multivariate SDH model yields marginal interpretations of the regression coefficients while allowing the correlation structure to be specified by a frailty term. Further, the proposed model allows for a direct investigation of the covariate effects on the cumulative incidence function since the SDH is modeled rather than the cause specific hazard. A simulation study suggests that the proposed model generally offers improved performance in terms of bias and efficiency when a sufficient number of events is observed. The proposed model also offers type I error rates close to nominal. The method is applied to a family-based study of breast cancer when death in absence of breast cancer is considered a competing risk.
KeywordsFamilial aggregation Competing risks Cumulative incidence function Semi-parametric
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