Impact of and Correction for Outcome Misclassification in Cumulative Incidence Estimation.
Sep 2 2015
Cohort studies and clinical trials may involve multiple events. When occurrence of one of these events prevents the observance of another, the situation is called "competing risks". A useful measure in such studies is the cumulative incidence of an event, which is useful in evaluating interventions or assessing disease prognosis. When outcomes in such studies are subject to misclassification, the resulting cumulative incidence estimates may be biased. In this work, we study the mechanism of bias in cumulative incidence estimation due to outcome misclassification. We show that even moderate levels of misclassification can lead to seriously biased estimates in a frequently unpredictable manner. We propose an easy to use estimator for correcting this bias that is uniformly consistent. Extensive simulations suggest that this method leads to unbiased estimates in practical settings. The proposed method is useful, both in settings where misclassification probabilities are known by historical data or can be estimated by other means, and for performing sensitivity analyses when the misclassification probabilities are not precisely known.