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Stat Med. 2012 Aug 30;31(19):2098-109. doi: 10.1002/sim.5317. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

A simulation study of finite-sample properties of marginal structural Cox proportional hazards models.

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1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. daniel.westreich@duke.edu

Abstract

Motivated by a previously published study of HIV treatment, we simulated data subject to time-varying confounding affected by prior treatment to examine some finite-sample properties of marginal structural Cox proportional hazards models. We compared (a) unadjusted, (b) regression-adjusted, (c) unstabilized, and (d) stabilized marginal structural (inverse probability-of-treatment [IPT] weighted) model estimators of effect in terms of bias, standard error, root mean squared error (MSE), and 95% confidence limit coverage over a range of research scenarios, including relatively small sample sizes and 10 study assessments. In the base-case scenario resembling the motivating example, where the true hazard ratio was 0.5, both IPT-weighted analyses were unbiased, whereas crude and adjusted analyses showed substantial bias towards and across the null. Stabilized IPT-weighted analyses remained unbiased across a range of scenarios, including relatively small sample size; however, the standard error was generally smaller in crude and adjusted models. In many cases, unstabilized weighted analysis showed a substantial increase in standard error compared with other approaches. Root MSE was smallest in the IPT-weighted analyses for the base-case scenario. In situations where time-varying confounding affected by prior treatment was absent, IPT-weighted analyses were less precise and therefore had greater root MSE compared with adjusted analyses. The 95% confidence limit coverage was close to nominal for all stabilized IPT-weighted but poor in crude, adjusted, and unstabilized IPT-weighted analysis. Under realistic scenarios, marginal structural Cox proportional hazards models performed according to expectations based on large-sample theory and provided accurate estimates of the hazard ratio.

PMID:
22492660
PMCID:
PMC3641777
DOI:
10.1002/sim.5317
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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