A computationally simple bivariate survival estimator for efficacy and safety

Denise Scholtens, Rebecca A. Betensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both treatment efficacy and safety are typically the primary endpoints in Phase II, and even in some Phase III, clinical trials. Efficacy is frequently measured by time to response, death, or some other milestone event and thus is a continuous, possibly censored, outcome. Safety, however, is frequently measured on a discrete scale; in Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group clinical trial E2290, it was measured as the number of weekly rounds of chemotherapy that were tolerable to colorectal cancer patients. For the joint analysis of efficacy and safety, we propose a non-parametric, computationally simple estimator for the bivariate survival function when one time-to-event is continuous, one is discrete, and both are subject to right-censoring. The bivariate censoring times may depend on each other, but they are assumed to be independent of both event times. We derive a closed-form covariance estimator for the survivor function which allows for inference to be based on any of several possible statistics of interest. In addition, we derive its covariance with respect to calendar time of analysis, allowing for its use in sequential studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-387
Number of pages23
JournalLifetime Data Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Bivariate survival
  • Efficacy and safety
  • Group sequential analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics


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