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Keywords:

  • accelerated failure time model;
  • asymptotics-guided Newton algorithm;
  • censored quantile regression;
  • discontinuous estimating function;
  • Gehan function;
  • log-rank function;
  • sandwich variance estimation

ABSTRACT

Weighted log-rank estimating function has become a standard estimation method for the censored linear regression model, or the accelerated failure time model. Well established statistically, the estimator defined as a consistent root has, however, rather poor computational properties because the estimating function is neither continuous nor, in general, monotone. We propose a computationally efficient estimator through an asymptotics-guided Newton algorithm, in which censored quantile regression methods are tailored to yield an initial consistent estimate and a consistent derivative estimate of the limiting estimating function. We also develop fast interval estimation with a new proposal for sandwich variance estimation. The proposed estimator is asymptotically equivalent to the consistent root estimator and barely distinguishable in samples of practical size. However, computation time is typically reduced by two to three orders of magnitude for point estimation alone. Illustrations with clinical applications are provided.