In Survival Analysis, the observed lifetimes often correspond to individuals for which the event occurs within a specific calendar time interval. With such interval sampling, the lifetimes are doubly truncated at values determined by the birth dates and the sampling interval. This double truncation may induce a systematic bias in estimation, so specific corrections are needed. A relevant target in Survival Analysis is the hazard rate function, which represents the instantaneous probability for the event of interest. In this work we introduce a flexible estimation approach for the hazard rate under double truncation. Specifically, a kernel smoother is considered, in both a fully nonparametric setting and a semiparametric setting in which the incidence process fits a given parametric model. Properties of the kernel smoothers are investigated both theoretically and through simulations. In particular, an asymptotic expression of the mean integrated squared error is derived, leading to a data-driven bandwidth for the estimators. The relevance of the semiparametric approach is emphasized, in that it is generally more accurate and, importantly, it avoids the potential issues of nonexistence or nonuniqueness of the fully nonparametric estimator. Applications to the age of diagnosis of Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) and AIDS incubation times are included.
Year of publication: 2021