DOI: 10.1002/sim.9856 ISSN: 0277-6715

A lean additive frailty model: With an application to clustering of melanoma in Norwegian families

Mari Brathovde, Tron A. Moger, Odd O. Aalen, Tom Grotmol, Marit B. Veierød, Morten Valberg
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Epidemiology

Additive frailty models are used to model correlated survival data. However, the complexity of the models increases with cluster size to the extent that practical usage becomes increasingly challenging. We present a modification of the additive genetic gamma frailty (AGGF) model, the lean AGGF (L‐AGGF) model, which alleviates some of these challenges by using a leaner additive decomposition of the frailty. The performances of the models were compared and evaluated in a simulation study. The L‐AGGF model was used to analyze population‐wide data on clustering of melanoma in 2 391 125 two‐generational Norwegian families, 1960‐2015. Using this model, we could analyze the complete data set, while the original model limited the analysis to a restricted data set (with cluster sizes ). We found a substantial clustering of melanoma in Norwegian families and large heterogeneity in melanoma risk across the population, where 52% of the frailty was attributed to the 10% of the population at highest unobserved risk. Due to the improved scalability, the L‐AGGF model enables a wider range of analyses of population‐wide data compared to the AGGF model. Moreover, the methods outlined here make it possible to perform these analyses in a computationally efficient manner.

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