On the validity of time-dependent AUC estimation in the presence of cure fraction

Kassu M. Beyene, Anouar El Ghouch, Abderrahim Oulhaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


During the last decades, several approaches have been proposed to estimate the time-dependent area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of risk tools derived from survival data. The validity of these estimators relies on some regularity assumptions among which a survival function being proper. In practice, this assumption is not always satisfied because a fraction of the population may not be susceptible to experience the event of interest even for long follow-up. Studying the sensitivity of the proposed estimators to the violation of this assumption is of substantial interest. In this paper, we investigate the performance of a nonparametric simple estimator, developed for classical survival data, in the case when the population exhibits a cure fraction. Motivated from the current practice of deriving risk tools in oncology and cardiovascular disease prevention, we also assess the loss, in terms of predictive performance, when deriving risk tools from survival models that do not acknowledge the presence of cure. The simulation results show that the investigated method is valid even under the presence of cure. They also show that risk tools derived from survival models that ignore the presence of cure have smaller AUC compared to those derived from survival models that acknowledge the presence of cure. This was also attested with a real data analysis from a breast cancer study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1430-1447
Number of pages18
JournalBiometrical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Cox model
  • mixture cure models
  • promotion time models
  • risk tools
  • time-dependent AUC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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