Feed forward neural networks for the analysis of censored survival data: a partial logistic regression approach

Stat Med. 1998 May 30;17(10):1169-86. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0258(19980530)17:10<1169::aid-sim796>3.0.co;2-d.


Flexible modelling in survival analysis can be useful both for exploratory and predictive purposes. Feed forward neural networks were recently considered for flexible non-linear modelling of censored survival data through the generalization of both discrete and continuous time models. We show that by treating the time interval as an input variable in a standard feed forward network with logistic activation and entropy error function, it is possible to estimate smoothed discrete hazards as conditional probabilities of failure. We considered an easily implementable approach with a fast selection criteria of the best configurations. Examples on data sets from two clinical trials are provided. The proposed artificial neural network (ANN) approach can be applied for the estimation of the functional relationships between covariates and time in survival data to improve model predictivity in the presence of complex prognostic relationships.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Survival Analysis*