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Title: Competing risks analysis of correlated failure time data.
Authors: Chen BE,  Kramer JL,  Greene MH,  Rosenberg PS
Journal: Biometrics
Date: 2008 Mar
Branches: BB, CGB
PubMed ID: 17680835
PMC ID: PMC3125987
Abstract: We develop methods for competing risks analysis when individual event times are correlated within clusters. Clustering arises naturally in clinical genetic studies and other settings. We develop a nonparametric estimator of cumulative incidence, and obtain robust pointwise standard errors that account for within-cluster correlation. We modify the two-sample Gray and Pepe-Mori tests for correlated competing risks data, and propose a simple two-sample test of the difference in cumulative incidence at a landmark time. In simulation studies, our estimators are asymptotically unbiased, and the modified test statistics control the type I error. The power of the respective two-sample tests is differentially sensitive to the degree of correlation; the optimal test depends on the alternative hypothesis of interest and the within-cluster correlation. For purposes of illustration, we apply our methods to a family-based prospective cohort study of hereditary breast/ovarian cancer families. For women with BRCA1 mutations, we estimate the cumulative incidence of breast cancer in the presence of competing mortality from ovarian cancer, accounting for significant within-family correlation.