From March through August 2015, nearly 60 teams from around the world participated in the Prostate Cancer Dream Challenge (PCDC). Participating teams were faced with the task of developing prediction models for patient survival and treatment discontinuation using baseline clinical variables collected on metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients in the comparator arm of four phase III clinical trials. In total, over 2,000 mCRPC patients treated with first-line docetaxel comprised the training and testing data sets used in this challenge. In this paper we describe: (a) the sub-challenges comprising the PCDC, (b) the statistical metrics used to benchmark prediction performance, (c) our analytical approach, and finally (d) our team's overall performance in this challenge. Specifically, we discuss our curated, ad-hoc, feature selection (CAFS) strategy for identifying clinically important risk-predictors, the ensemble-based Cox proportional hazards regression framework used in our final submission, and the adaptation of our modeling framework based on the results from the intermittent leaderboard rounds. Strong predictors of patient survival were successfully identified utilizing our model building approach. Several of the identified predictors were new features created by our team via strategically merging collections of weak predictors. In each of the three intermittent leaderboard rounds, our prediction models scored among the top four models across all participating teams and our final submission ranked 9 th place overall with an integrated area under the curve (iAUC) of 0.7711 computed in an independent test set. While the prediction performance of teams placing between 2 nd- 10 th (iAUC: 0.7710-0.7789) was better than the current gold-standard prediction model for prostate cancer survival, the top-performing team, FIMM-UTU significantly outperformed all other contestants with an iAUC of 0.7915. In summary, our ensemble-based Cox regression framework with CAFS resulted in strong overall performance for predicting prostate cancer survival and represents a promising approach for future prediction problems.Copyright © 2016 Meier R et al.
D., K., R., M., S., G., J., U., R., R., J., D., … S., E. (2016). An ensemble-based Cox proportional hazards regression framework for predicting survival in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients. F1000Research, 5, 2677. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.8226.1