Semiparametric Methods for Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials and Arbitrarily Censored Time-to-event Data.

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Title: Semiparametric Methods for Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials and Arbitrarily Censored Time-to-event Data.
Author: Zhang, Min
Advisors: Wenbin Lu, Committee Member
Marie Davidian, Committee Chair
Anastasios A. Tsiatis, Committee Co-Chair
Daowen Zhang, Committee Member
Abstract: This dissertation includes two parts. In part one, using the theory of semiparametrics, we develop a general approach to improving efficiency of nferences in randomized clinical trials using auxiliary covariates. In part two, we study "smooth" semiparametric regression analysis for arbitrarily censored time-to-event data. The primary goal of a randomized clinical trial is to make comparisons among two or more treatments. For example, in a two-arm trial with continuous response, the focus may be on the difference in treatment means; with more than two treatments, the comparison may be based on pairwise differences. With binary outcomes, pairwise odds-ratios or log-odds ratios may be used. In general, comparisons may be based on meaningful parameters in a relevant statistical model. Standard analyses for estimation and testing in this context typically are based on the data collected on response and treatment assignment only. In many trials, auxiliary baseline covariate information may also be available, and it is of interest to exploit these data to improve the efficiency of inferences. Taking a semiparametric theory perspective, we propose a broadly-applicable approach to adjustment for auxiliary covariates to achieve more efficient estimators and tests for treatment parameters in the analysis of randomized clinical trials. Simulations and applications demonstrate the performance of the methods. A general framework for regression analysis of time-to-event data subject to arbitrary patterns of censoring is proposed. The approach is relevant when the analyst is willing to assume that distributions governing model components that are ordinarily left unspecified in popular semiparametric regression models, such as the baseline hazard function in the proportional hazards model, have densities satisfying mild "smoothness" conditions. Densities are approximated by a truncated series expansion that, for fixed degree of truncation, results in a "parametric" representation, which makes likelihood-based inference coupled with adaptive choice of the degree of truncation, and hence flexibility of the model, computationally and conceptually straightforward with data subject to any pattern of censoring. The formulation allows popular models, such as the proportional hazards, proportional odds, and accelerated failure time models, to be placed in a common framework; provides a principled basis for choosing among them; and renders useful extensions of the models straightforward. The utility and performance of the methods are demonstrated via simulations and by application to data from time-to-event studies.
Date: 2009-04-03
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Statistics

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