Multi-Source Survival Domain Adaptation

Survival analysis is the branch of statistics that studies the relation between the characteristics of living entities and their respective survival times, taking into account the partial information held by censored cases. A good analysis can, for example, determine whether one medical treatment for a group of patients is better than another. With the rise of machine learning, survival analysis can be modeled as learning a function that maps studied patients to their survival times. To succeed with that, there are three crucial issues to be tackled. First, some patient data is censored: we do not know the true survival times for all patients. Second, data is scarce, which led past research to treat different illness types as domains in a multi-task setup. Third, there is the need for adaptation to new or extremely rare illness types, where little or no labels are available. In contrast to previous multi-task setups, we want to investigate how to efficiently adapt to a new survival target domain from multiple survival source domains. For this, we introduce a new survival metric and the corresponding discrepancy measure between survival distributions. These allow us to define domain adaptation for survival analysis while incorporating censored data, which would otherwise have to be dropped. Our experiments on two cancer data sets reveal a superb performance on target domains, a better treatment recommendation, and a weight matrix with a plausible explanation.

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