Fitting Accelerated Failure Time Models in Routine Survival Analysis with R Package aftgee

Sy Han Chiou, Sangwook Kang, Jun Yan

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Accelerated failure time (AFT) models are alternatives to relative risk models which are used extensively to examine the covariate effects on event times in censored data regression. Nevertheless, AFT models have been much less utilized in practice due to lack of reliable computing methods and software. This paper describes an R package aftgee that implements recently developed inference procedures for AFT models with both the rank-based approach and the least squares approach. For the rank-based approach, the package allows various weight choices and uses an induced smoothing procedure that leads to much more efficient computation than the linear programming method. With the rank-based estimator as an initial value, the generalized estimating equation approach is used as an extension of the least squares approach to the multivariate case. Additional sampling weights are incorporated to handle missing data needed as in case-cohort studies or general sampling schemes. A simulated dataset and two real life examples from biomedical research are employed to illustrate the usage of the package.

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