Prostate cancer incidence, treatment and mortality : Empirical longitudinal register-based studies and methods for handling missing data

Sammanfattning: The diagnostic activity for prostate cancer has increased substantially in Sweden, primarily due to increased use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in asymptomatic men, and this has led to a large increase in diagnoses. There have also been changes in the diagnostic workup, guidelines, treatment strategies, and more effective treatments have been introduced in different phases of the disease. This thesis aims to increase the understanding of consequences of changes in diagnostic activity and treatment, with a focus on empirical studies, methodological development, and handling of missing data.In paper I, the survival of men with metastatic prostate cancer was investigated across calendar time periods by use of Kaplan-Meier analyses and Cox regression. The median survival from diagnosis increased with six months comparing men diagnosed 1998-2001 with men diagnosed 2010-2015, while median PSA decreased.In paper II, a discrete time multivariate longitudinal model was combined with a proxy for the unobserved level of diagnostic activity to produce prognoses of incidence and mortality. Simulations indicated that a higher diagnostic activity was associated with fewer men diagnosed with metastatic disease and fewer prostate cancer deaths.In paper III, we looked for clinical variables predictive of the survival of men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). A new data base was created including longitudinal data on prescriptions of hormonal treatment, PSA, and cause of death. We found that PSA doubling time and PSA at time of CRCP were highly predictive and could be used for treatment decision.In paper IV, we estimated annual incidence of metastatic prostate cancer using different methods for handling missing data in metastatic status (M stage). Missing data in M stage was high and varied over calendar time and risk groups, yet each method indicated a downward trend in incidence. Although men with unknown metastatic status cannot be assumed to have nonmetastatic disease in general, this may be reasonable among those with tumour characteristics that indicate a low risk of metastases.In paper V, the estimation of multivariate longitudinal models was considered in a context where some events are observed on a coarser level (e.g. grouped) at some time points, causing gaps in the data. The likelihood function, score and observed information were derived under an independent coarsening mechanism. A simulation study was conducted comparing properties of several estimators including direct maximum likelihood and Monte Carlo Expectation Maximisation.