Semiparametric model and inference for spontaneous abortion data with a cured proportion and biased sampling

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Evaluating and understanding the risk and safety of using medications for autoimmune disease in a woman during her pregnancy will help both clinicians and pregnant women to make better treatment decisions. However, utilizing spontaneous abortion (SAB) data collected in observational studies of pregnancy to derive valid inference poses two major challenges. First, the data from the observational cohort are not random samples of the target population due to the sampling mechanism. Pregnant women with early SAB are more likely to be excluded from the cohort, and there may be substantial differences between the observed SAB time and those in the target population. Second, the observed data are heterogeneous and contain a “cured” proportion. In this article, we consider semiparametric models to simultaneously estimate the probability of being cured and the distribution of time to SAB for the uncured subgroup. To derive the maximum likelihood estimators, we appropriately adjust the sampling bias in the likelihood function and develop an expectation-maximization algorithm to overcome the computational challenge. We apply the empirical process theory to prove the consistency and asymptotic normality of the estimators. We examine the finite sample performance of the proposed estimators in simulation studies and illustrate the proposed method through an application to SAB data from pregnant women.

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