Penalized estimation for competing risks regression with applications to high-dimensional covariates

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Abstract

Summary

High-dimensional regression has become an increasingly important topic for many research fields. For example, biomedical research generates an increasing amount of data to characterize patients' bio-profiles (e.g. from a genomic high-throughput assay). The increasing complexity in the characterization of patients' bio-profiles is added to the complexity related to the prolonged follow-up of patients with the registration of the occurrence of possible adverse events. This information may offer useful insight into disease dynamics and in identifying subset of patients with worse prognosis and better response to the therapy. Although in the last years the number of contributions for coping with high and ultra-high-dimensional data in standard survival analysis have increased (Witten and Tibshirani, 2010. Survival analysis with high-dimensional covariates. Statistical Methods in Medical Research19(1), 29-51), the research regarding competing risks is less developed (Binder and others, 2009. Boosting for high-dimensional time-to-event data with competing risks. Bioinformatics25(7), 890-896). The aim of this work is to consider how to do penalized regression in the presence of competing events. The direct binomial regression model of Scheike and others (2008. Predicting cumulative incidence probability by direct binomial regression. Biometrika95(1), 205-220) is reformulated in a penalized framework to possibly fit a sparse regression model. The developed approach is easily implementable using existing high-performance software to do penalized regression. Results from simulation studies are presented together with an application to genomic data when the endpoint is progression-free survival. An R function is provided to perform regularized competing risks regression according to the binomial model in the package timereg (Scheike and Martinussen, 2006. Dynamic Regression models for survival data. New York: Springer), available through CRAN.

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