Survival analysis using inverse probability of treatment weighted methods based on the generalized propensity score

Masahiro Sugihara
Pharmaceutical Statistics 2010, 9 (1): 21-34
In survival analysis, treatment effects are commonly evaluated based on survival curves and hazard ratios as causal treatment effects. In observational studies, these estimates may be biased due to confounding factors. The inverse probability of treatment weighted (IPTW) method based on the propensity score is one of the approaches utilized to adjust for confounding factors between binary treatment groups. As a generalization of this methodology, we developed an exact formula for an IPTW log-rank test based on the generalized propensity score for survival data. This makes it possible to compare the group differences of IPTW Kaplan-Meier estimators of survival curves using an IPTW log-rank test for multi-valued treatments. As causal treatment effects, the hazard ratio can be estimated using the IPTW approach. If the treatments correspond to ordered levels of a treatment, the proposed method can be easily extended to the analysis of treatment effect patterns with contrast statistics. In this paper, the proposed method is illustrated with data from the Kyushu Lipid Intervention Study (KLIS), which investigated the primary preventive effects of pravastatin on coronary heart disease (CHD). The results of the proposed method suggested that pravastatin treatment reduces the risk of CHD and that compliance to pravastatin treatment is important for the prevention of CHD.

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