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We fit a Cox proportional hazards (PH) model to interval-censored survival data by first subdividing each individual's failure interval into non-overlapping sub-intervals. Using the set of all interval endpoints in the data set, those that fall into the individual's interval are then used as the cut points for the sub-intervals. Each sub-interval has an accompanying weight calculated from a parametric Weibull model based on the current parameter estimates. A weighted PH model is then fit with multiple lines of observations corresponding to the sub-intervals for each individual, where the lower end of each sub-interval is used as the observed failure time with the accompanying weights incorporated. Right-censored observations are handled in the usual manner. We iterate between estimating the baseline Weibull distribution and fitting the weighted PH model until the regression parameters of interest converge. The regression parameter estimates are fixed as an offset when we update the estimates of the Weibull distribution and recalculate the weights. Our approach is similar to Satten et al.'s (1998) method for interval-censored survival analysis that used imputed failure times generated from a parametric model in a PH model. Simulation results demonstrate apparently unbiased parameter estimation for the correctly specified Weibull model and little to no bias for a mis-specified log-logistic model. Breast cosmetic deterioration data and ICU hyperlactemia data are analyzed.
Williamson J.M., Lin H.-M., Kim H.-Y. An Interval-Censored Proportional Hazards Model. Journal of Data Science, 16(4); 829-856, (2018).