Exploring the existence of a stayer population with mover-stayer counting process models: application to joint damage in psoriatic arthritis.

17 Jan 2018

Many psoriatic arthritis patients do not progress to permanent joint damage in any of the 28 hand joints, even under prolonged follow-up. This has led several researchers to fit models that estimate the proportion of stayers (those who do not have the propensity to experience the event of interest) and to characterize the rate of developing damaged joints in the movers (those who have the propensity to experience the event of interest). However, when fitted to the same data, the paper demonstrates that the choice of model for the movers can lead to widely varying conclusions on a stayer population, thus implying that, if interest lies in a stayer population, a single analysis should not generally be adopted. The aim of the paper is to provide greater understanding regarding estimation of a stayer population by comparing the inferences, performance and features of multiple fitted models to real and simulated data sets. The models for the movers are based on Poisson processes with patient level random effects and/or dynamic covariates, which are used to induce within-patient correlation, and observation level random effects are used to account for time varying unobserved heterogeneity. The gamma, inverse Gaussian and compound Poisson distributions are considered for the random effects.