Cancer survival trend analyses are essential to describe accurately the way medical practices impact patients" survival according to the year of diagnosis. To this end, survival models should be able to account simultaneously for non-linear and non-proportional effects and for complex interactions between continuous variables. However, in the statistical literature, there is no consensus yet on how to build such models that should be flexible but still provide smooth estimates of survival. In this article, we tackle this challenge by smoothing the complex hypersurface (time since diagnosis, age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, and mortality hazard) using a multidimensional penalized spline built from the tensor product of the marginal bases of time, age, and year. Considering this penalized survival model as a Poisson model, we assess the performance of this approach in estimating the net survival with a comprehensive simulation study that reflects simple and complex realistic survival trends. The bias was generally small and the root mean squared error was good and often similar to that of the true model that generated the data. This parametric approach offers many advantages and interesting prospects (such as forecasting) that make it an attractive and efficient tool for survival trend analyses.
Auteur : Remontet Laurent, Uhry Zoé, Bossard Nadine, Iwaz Jean, Belot Aurélien, Danieli Coraline, Charvat Hadrien, Roche Laurent
Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 2018, p. 1-17