Short Course 3

The Analysis of Interval-Censored Observations

Room: TBD (Sunday, 8 July 2017 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm)


  • Emmanuel Lasaffre (University of Leuven) Leuven, Belgium
  • Arnošt Komárek (Charles University) Prague, Czech Republic

Summary of Course

Interval-censored data occur in basically all empirical research but is rarely taken into account properly. Appropriate methodology has been developed for a large number of problems. Despite the available statistical technology, interval-censoring is often swept under the carpet. A notorious example is the analysis of cancer trials with progression-free survival as outcome, in which almost invariably interval censoring is ignored. We argue that one of the reasons that the appropriate technology is not used is the ignorance of many statisticians what the effects are of ignoring interval-censoring, but also what software is available. In the forthcoming CRC Press book (Survival Analysis with Interval-Censored Data: A Practical Approach with examples in R, SAS and BUGS by Kris Bogaerts, Arnošt Komárek, Emmanuel Lesaffre, 2017), we give an overview of the pitfalls of ignoring interval-censoring, of the different approaches both in a frequentist and a Bayesian context and the currently available statistical software.

Course Contents

  • Session 1 – Introduction to censoring mechanisms, single sample techniques and two-group comparisons, in frequentist context + applications.
  • Session 2 – Regression models and some multivariate problems in frequentist context + applications.
  • Session 3 – Estimation of survival distribution in a parametric and flexible Bayesian way + applications.
  • Session 4 – Regression and multivariate problems in Bayesian context + applications.

Note: Focus is on R and BUGS software. SAS software will not be explicitly treated, but examples in SAS will be provided. Also, non-parametric Bayesian methods will be largely ignored in the course.

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge – Why interval censoring needs to be addressed, what methods are available, but even more importantly what software is available on the different platforms: R, (SAS,) BUGS.
  • Attitude – Participants will be able to judge when it is important to take interval censoring into account.


Knowledge of survival analysis (with classical right-censored data) and regression models. Basic knowledge of Bayesian concepts (afternoon session only).

About the Instructors

Emmanuel Lesaffre is Professor of Biostatistics at I-Biostat, KU Leuven, Belgium. His research interests include Bayesian methods, longitudinal data analysis, statistical modelling, analysis of dental data, interval censored data, misclassification issues and clinical trials. He has written more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed statistical and medical journals. He is the Founding Chair of the Statistical Modelling Society, Past-president of the International Society for Clinical Biostatistics and Fellow of ISI and ASA. He (co-)authored five books among which the recently published Wiley book Bayesian Biostatistics (2012) together with Andrew Lawson. He has taught many statistical courses on a variety of topics in regular Master programs, but also short courses on-site both at the national, as well as international level. The audiences were medical students and researchers, engineers, mathematicians and statisticians.

Arnošt Komárek is Associate Professor of Statistics at Charles University, Prague. His subject area expertise covers mainly survival analysis with the emphasis on interval-censored data and classification based on longitudinal data. He is author of 15 methodological papers published in scholarly statistical journals (subject of nine of these papers is directly related to the topic of the proposed short course) and 28 other papers resulting from collaborative research published mostly in biomedical oriented journals. He is past Chair of Statistical Modelling Society and Editor of Statistical Modelling: An International Journal. He is also author of several software tools accompanying the published papers, allowing for user friendly applications of proposed methodologies. With respect to the proposed short course topic, see R packages smoothSurv, bayesSurv and mixAK available from CRAN at As of 2007, he teaches a variety of statistical courses at Charles University at both Bachelor and Master levels for students targeting a degree in statistics, as well as in science. A teaching duty is about 170 hours per year.  Since 2010, he taught in the Czech Republic several one or two-day short courses in introductory biostatistics, survival analysis and generalized linear models with R, STATISTICA or SAS oriented towards applied audience. He also taught several courses on R programming.


CRC Press book: Survival Analysis with Interval-Censored Data: A Practical Approach with examples in R, SAS and BUGS by Kris Bogaerts, Arnošt Komárek, Emmanuel Lesaffre, 2017,