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Corrected score estimation in the proportional hazards model with misclassified discrete covariates

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Abstract

We consider Cox proportional hazards regression when the covariate vector includes error-prone discrete covariates along with error-free covariates, which may be discrete or continuous. The misclassification in the discrete error-prone covariates is allowed to be of any specified form. Building on the work of Nakamura and his colleagues, we present a corrected score method for this setting. The method can handle all three major study designs (internal validation design, external validation design, and replicate measures design), both functional and structural error models, and time-dependent covariates satisfying a certain ‘localized error’ condition. We derive the asymptotic properties of the method and indicate how to adjust the covariance matrix of the regression coefficient estimates to account for estimation of the misclassification matrix. We present the results of a finite-sample simulation study under Weibull survival with a single binary covariate having known misclassification rates. The performance of the method described here was similar to that of related methods we have examined in previous works. Specifically, our new estimator performed as well as or, in a few cases, better than the full Weibull maximum likelihood estimator. We also present simulation results for our method for the case where the misclassification probabilities are estimated from an external replicate measures study. Our method generally performed well in these simulations. The new estimator has a broader range of applicability than many other estimators proposed in the literature, including those described in our own earlier work, in that it can handle time-dependent covariates with an arbitrary misclassification structure. We illustrate the method on data from a study of the relationship between dietary calcium intake and distal colon cancer. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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