Extrapolating empirical long-term survival data: the impact of updated follow-up data and parametric extrapolation methods on survival estimates in multiple myeloma

Lj Bakker*, Fw Thielen, Wk Redekop, CA Uyl de Groot, Hm Blommestein

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: In economic evaluations, survival is often extrapolated to smooth out the Kaplan-Meier estimate and because the available data (e.g., from randomized controlled trials) are often right censored. Validation of the accuracy of extrapolated results can depend on the length of follow-up and the assumptions made about the survival hazard. Here, we analyze the accuracy of different extrapolation techniques while varying the data cut-off to estimate long-term survival in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) patients. Methods: Empirical data were available from a randomized controlled trial and a registry for MM patients treated with melphalan + prednisone, thalidomide, and bortezomib- based regimens. Standard parametric and spline models were fitted while artificially reducing follow-up by introducing database locks. The maximum follow-up for these locks varied from 3 to 13 years. Extrapolated (conditional) restricted mean survival time (RMST) was compared to the Kaplan-Meier RMST and models were selected according to statistical tests, and visual fit. Results: For all treatments, the RMST error decreased when follow-up and the absolute number of events increased, and censoring decreased. The decline in RMST error was highest when maximum follow-up exceeded six years. However, even when censoring is low there can still be considerable deviations in the extrapolated RMST conditional on survival until extrapolation when compared to the KM-estimate. Conclusions: We demonstrate that both standard parametric and spline models could be worthy candidates when extrapolating survival for the populations examined. Nevertheless, researchers and decision makers should be wary of uncertainty in results even when censoring has decreased, and the number of events has increased.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
JournalBMC Medical Research Methodology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023

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Publisher Copyright: © 2023, The Author(s).

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