### A Metaheuristic Approach to Parameter Estimation of a Flexible Parametric Mixture Cure Rate Model with Interval-Censored Data

#### Abstract

A flexible parametric mixture cure model, called bi-lognormal cure rate model or simply BLN model, is defined and studied. The BLN model can be effectively used to analyze survival dataset in the presence of long-term survivors, especially when the dataset presents the underlying phenomenon of latent competing risks or when there is evidence that a bimodal hazard function is appropriated to described it, which are advantages over other cure rate models found in the literature. We discuss the maximum likelihood estimation for the model parameters considering interval-censored data through the differential evolution algorithm that is a nature-inspired computing metaheuristic used for global optimization of functions defined in multidimensional spaces. This approach is also used because the likelihood function of the model is multimodal and the direct application of gradient methods in this case is not ideal, since such methods are local search methods with a high chance of getting stuck at a local maximum when the starting point is chosen outside the basin of attraction of a global maximum. In addition, a simulation study was implemented to compare the performance of differential evolution algorithm with the performance of the Newton-Raphson algorithm in terms of bias, root mean square error, and the coverage probability of the asymptotic confidence intervals for the parameters. Finally, an application of the BLN model to real data is presented to illustrate that it can provide a better fit than other mixture cure rate models.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5540/tcam.2023.024.03.00535

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