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Multilevel Mixture Cure Models with Random Effects

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Abstract

This paper extends the multilevel survival model by allowing the existence of cured fraction in the model. Random effects induced by the multilevel clustering structure are specified in the linear predictors in both hazard function and cured probability parts. Adopting the generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) approach to formulate the problem, parameter estimation is achieved by maximizing a best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) type log-likelihood at the initial step of estimation, and is then extended to obtain residual maximum likelihood (REML) estimators of the variance component. The proposed multilevel mixture cure model is applied to analyze the (i) child survival study data with multilevel clustering and (ii) chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) data on recurrent infections as illustrations. A simulation study is carried out to evaluate the performance of the REML estimators and assess the accuracy of the standard error estimates.

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