Survival analysis of women with breast cancer: competing risk models

Abstract This study aimed to estimate the effects of prognostic factors on breast cancer survival, such as age, staging, and extension of the tumor, using proportional hazards and competing risks models proposed by Cox and Fine-Gray, respectively. This is a retrospective cohort study, based on a population of 524 women, who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the period from 1993 to 1995 and monitored until 2011, residents in the city of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. The cutoff points for the variable of age were defined with Cox simple models. In the settings of simple and multiple Fine-Gray models, age was not significant to the presence of competing risks, neither it was in Cox models. For both models, death by breast cancer was the event of interest. The survival functions, estimated by Kaplan-Meier, showed significant differences for deaths by breast cancer and by competing risks. Survival functions by breast cancer did not show significant differences when comparing the age groups, according to log-rank test. Cox and Fine-Gray models identified the same prognostic factors that influenced in breast cancer survival.