Pharmaceutical Statistics

A flexible parametric survival model for fitting time to event data in clinical trials

Early View

Time‐to‐event data are common in clinical trials to evaluate survival benefit of a new drug, biological product, or device. The commonly used parametric models including exponential, Weibull, Gompertz, log‐logistic, log‐normal, are simply not flexible enough to capture complex survival curves observed in clinical and medical research studies. On the other hand, the nonparametric Kaplan Meier (KM) method is very flexible and successful on catching the various shapes in the survival curves but lacks ability in predicting the future events such as the time for certain number of events and the number of events at certain time and predicting the risk of events (eg, death) over time beyond the span of the available data from clinical trials. It is obvious that neither the nonparametric KM method nor the current parametric distributions can fulfill the needs in fitting survival curves with the useful characteristics for predicting. In this paper, a full parametric distribution constructed as a mixture of three components of Weibull distribution is explored and recommended to fit the survival data, which is as flexible as KM for the observed data but have the nice features beyond the trial time, such as predicting future events, survival probability, and hazard function.

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