Prediction the survival of patients with breast cancer using random survival forests for competing risks


Random Survival Forest
Competing risks
Cause-specific hazard model
Breast Cancer



Objectives: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cause of cancer death in Iranian women. Sometimes death from other causes precludes the event of interest and makes the analysis complicated. The purpose of this study was to identify important prognosis factors associated with survival duration among patients with BC using random survival forests (RSF) model in presence of competing risks. Also, its performance was compared with cause-specific hazard model.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study assessed 222 patients with BC who admitted in Ayatollah Khansari hospital, Arak. The cause-specific Cox proportional hazards and RSF models were employed to determine the important risk factors for survival of the patients.

Results: The mean and median survival duration of the patients were 90.71 (95%CI: 83.8- 97.6) and 100.73 (95%CI: 89.2-- 121.5) months, respectively. The cause-specific model indicated that type of surgery and HER2 had statistically significant effects on the risk of death of BC. Moreover, the RSF model identified that HER2 was the most important variable for the event of interest.

Conclusion: According to the results of this study, the performance of the RSF model was better than the cause-specific hazard model. However, HER2 was the most important variable for death of BC in both of the models.


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