Non-parametric estimation for baseline hazards function and covariate effects with time-dependent covariates

Feng Gao, Amita K. Manatunga, Shande Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Often in many biomedical and epidemiologic studies, estimating hazards function is of interest. The Breslow's estimator is commonly used for estimating the integrated baseline hazard, but this estimator requires the functional form of covariate effects to be correctly specified. It is generally difficult to identify the true functional form of covariate effects in the presence of time-dependent covariates. To provide a complementary method to the traditional proportional hazard model, we propose a tree-type method which enables simultaneously estimating both baseline hazards function and the effects of time-dependent covariates. Our interest will be focused on exploring the potential data structures rather than formal hypothesis testing. The proposed method approximates the baseline hazards and covariate effects with step-functions. The jump points in time and in covariate space are searched via an algorithm based on the improvement of the full log-likelihood function. In contrast to most other estimating methods, the proposed method estimates the hazards function rather than integrated hazards. The method is applied to model the risk of withdrawal in a clinical trial that evaluates the anti-depression treatment in preventing the development of clinical depression. Finally, the performance of the method is evaluated by several simulation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-868
Number of pages12
JournalStatistics in medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 20 2007


  • Baseline hazards
  • Survival data
  • Time-dependent covariate
  • Tree-structured method


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