TitlePredictive comparison of joint longitudinal-survival modeling: a case study illustrating competing approaches.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHanson, TE, Branscum, AJ, Johnson, WO
JournalLifetime data analysis
Date Published2011 Jan
KeywordsSurvival Analysis

The joint modeling of longitudinal and survival data has received extraordinary attention in the statistics literature recently, with models and methods becoming increasingly more complex. Most of these approaches pair a proportional hazards survival with longitudinal trajectory modeling through parametric or nonparametric specifications. In this paper we closely examine one data set previously analyzed using a two parameter parametric model for Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) egg-laying trajectories paired with accelerated failure time and proportional hazards survival models. We consider parametric and nonparametric versions of these two models, as well as a proportional odds rate model paired with a wide variety of longitudinal trajectory assumptions reflecting the types of analyses seen in the literature. In addition to developing novel nonparametric Bayesian methods for joint models, we emphasize the importance of model selection from among joint and non joint models. The default in the literature is to omit at the outset non joint models from consideration. For the medfly data, a predictive diagnostic criterion suggests that both the choice of survival model and longitudinal assumptions can grossly affect model adequacy and prediction. Specifically for these data, the simple joint model used in by Tseng et al. (Biometrika 92:587-603, 2005) and models with much more flexibility in their longitudinal components are predictively outperformed by simpler analyses. This case study underscores the need for data analysts to compare on the basis of predictive performance different joint models and to include non joint models in the pool of candidates under consideration.