Causal inference in survival analysis using pseudo-observations

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Causal inference for non-censored response variables, such as binary or quantitative outcomes, is often based on either (1) direct standardization ('G-formula') or (2) inverse probability of treatment assignment weights ('propensity score'). To do causal inference in survival analysis, one needs to address right-censoring, and often, special techniques are required for that purpose.

We will show how censoring can be dealt with 'once and for all' by means of so-called pseudo-observations when doing causal inference in survival analysis. The pseudo-observations can be used as a replacement of the outcomes without censoring when applying 'standard' causal inference methods, such as (1) or (2) earlier. We study this idea for estimating the average causal effect of a binary treatment on the survival probability, the restricted mean lifetime, and the cumulative incidence in a competing risks situation.

The methods will be illustrated in a small simulation study and via a study of patients with acute myeloid leukemia who received either myeloablative or non-myeloablative conditioning before allogeneic hematopoetic cell transplantation. We will estimate the average causal effect of the conditioning regime on outcomes such as the 3-year overall survival probability and the 3-year risk of chronic graft-versus-host disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStatistics in Medicine
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)2669-2681
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2017

ID: 195511024