Stat Med. 2022 Jun 18. doi: 10.1002/sim.9498. Online ahead of print.
The existence of items not susceptible to the event of interest is of both theoretical and practical importance. Although researchers may provide, for example, biological, medical, or sociological evidence for the presence of such items (cured), statistical models performing well under the existence or not of a cured proportion, frequently offer a necessary flexibility. This work introduces a new reparameterization of a flexible family of cure models, which not only includes among its special cases, the most studied cure models (such as the mixture, bounded cumulative hazard, and negative binomial cure model) but also classical survival models (ie, without cured items). One of the main properties of the proposed family, apart from its computationally tractable closed form, is that the case of zero cured proportion is not found at the boundary of the parameter space, as it typically happens to other families. A simulation study examines the (finite) performance of the suggested methodology, focusing to the estimation through EM algorithm and model discrimination, by the aid of the likelihood ratio test and Akaike information criterion; for illustrative purposes, analysis of two real life datasets (on recidivism and cutaneous melanoma) is also carried out.