Theses Doctoral

Prognostic Modeling in the Presence of Competing Risks: an Application to Cardiovascular and Cancer Mortality in Breast Cancer Survivors

Leoce, Nicole Marie

Currently, there are an estimated 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Due to modern screening practices and raised awareness, the majority of these cases will be diagnosed in the early stages of disease where highly effective treatment options are available, leading a large proportion of these patients to fail from causes other than breast cancer. The primary cause of death in the United States today is cardiovascular disease, which can be delayed or prevented with interventions such as lifestyle modifications or medications. In order to identify individuals who may be at high risk for a cardiovascular event or cardiovascular mortality, a number of prognostic models have been developed. The majority of these models were developed on populations free of comorbid conditions, utilizing statistical methods that did not account for the competing risks of death from other causes, therefore it is unclear whether they will be generalizable to a cancer population remaining at an increased risk of death from cancer and other causes. Consequently, the purpose of this work is multi-fold. We will first summarize the major statistical methods available for analyzing competing risk data and include a simulation study comparing them. This will be used to inform the interpretation of the real data analysis, which will be conducted on a large, contemporary cohort of breast cancer survivors. For these women, we will categorize the major causes of death, hypothesizing that it will include cardiovascular failure. Next, we will evaluate the existing cardiovascular disease risk models in our population of cancer survivors, and then propose a new model to simultaneously predict a survivor's risk of death due to her breast cancer or due to cardiovascular disease, while accounting for additional competing causes of death. Lastly, model predicted outcomes will be calculated for the cohort, and evaluation methods will be applied to determine the clinical utility of such a model.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Jin, Zhezhen
Terry, Mary Beth
Dr.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
June 13, 2016