Parametric survival densities from phase-type models

Eric V. Slud, Jiraphan Suntornchost
2013 Lifetime Data Analysis  
After a brief historical survey of parametric survival models, from actuarial, biomedical, demographical and engineering sources, this paper discusses the persistent reasons why parametric models still play an important role in exploratory statistical research. The phase-type models are advanced as a flexible family of latentclass models with interpretable components. These models are now supported by computational statistical methods that make numerical calculation of likelihoods and
more » ... l estimation of parameters feasible in theory for quite complicated settings. However, consideration of Fisher Information and likelihood-ratio type tests to discriminate between model families indicates that only the simplest phase-type model topologies can be stably estimated in practice, even on rather large datasets. An example of a parametric model with features of mixtures, multiple stages or 'hits', and a trapping-state is given to illustrate simple computational tools in R, both on simulated data and on a large SEER 1992-2002 breast-cancer dataset. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (
doi:10.1007/s10985-013-9278-0 pmid:23963960 fatcat:cvbdsnhls5duvkmepbzb4yj2ci