In survival analysis it often happens that some subjects under study do not experience the event of interest; they are considered to be “cured.” The population is thus a mixture of two subpopulations, one of cured subjects and one of “susceptible” subjects. We propose a novel approach to estimate a mixture cure model when covariates are present and the lifetime is subject to random right censoring. We work with a parametric model for the cure proportion, while the conditional survival function of the uncured subjects is unspecified. The approach is based on an inversion which allows us to write the survival function as a function of the distribution of the observable variables. This leads to a very general class of models which allows a flexible and rich modeling of the conditional survival function. We show the identifiability of the proposed model as well as the consistency and the asymptotic normality of the model parameters. We also consider in more detail the case where kernel estimators are used for the nonparametric part of the model. The new estimators are compared with the estimators from a Cox mixture cure model via simulations. Finally, we apply the new model on a medical data set.
"A general approach for cure models in survival analysis." Ann. Statist. 48 (4) 2323 - 2346, August 2020. https://doi.org/10.1214/19-AOS1889