The accelerated failure time model is widely used for analyzing censored survival times often observed in clinical studies. It is well-known that the ordinary maximum likelihood estimators of the parameters in the accelerated failure time model are generally sensitive to potential outliers or small deviations from the underlying distributional assumptions. In this paper, we propose and explore a robust method for fitting the accelerated failure time model to survival data by bounding the influence of outliers in both the outcome variable and associated covariates. We also develop a sandwich-type variance–covariance function for approximating the variances of the proposed robust estimators. The finite-sample properties of the estimators are investigated based on empirical results from an extensive simulation study. An application is provided using actual data from a clinical study of primary breast cancer patients.

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Keywords Failure time model, Hazard function, Outliers, Robust estimation, Survival data
Persistent URL
Journal Lifetime Data Analysis
Sinha, S. K. (2018). Robust estimation in accelerated failure time models. Lifetime Data Analysis, 1–27. doi:10.1007/s10985-018-9421-z