Joint latent class models for longitudinal and time-to-event data: a review

Stat Methods Med Res. 2014 Feb;23(1):74-90. doi: 10.1177/0962280212445839. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


Most statistical developments in the joint modelling area have focused on the shared random-effect models that include characteristics of the longitudinal marker as predictors in the model for the time-to-event. A less well-known approach is the joint latent class model which consists in assuming that a latent class structure entirely captures the correlation between the longitudinal marker trajectory and the risk of the event. Owing to its flexibility in modelling the dependency between the longitudinal marker and the event time, as well as its ability to include covariates, the joint latent class model may be particularly suited for prediction problems. This article aims at giving an overview of joint latent class modelling, especially in the prediction context. The authors introduce the model, discuss estimation and goodness-of-fit, and compare it with the shared random-effect model. Then, dynamic predictive tools derived from joint latent class models, as well as measures to evaluate their dynamic predictive accuracy, are presented. A detailed illustration of the methods is given in the context of the prediction of prostate cancer recurrence after radiation therapy based on repeated measures of Prostate Specific Antigen.

Keywords: Brier score; joint model; longitudinal data; mixture model; predictive accuracy; prognosis; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Probability
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Recurrence


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen