Drawing Survival Curves using 'ggplot2'

Contains the function 'ggsurvplot()' for drawing easily beautiful and 'ready-to-publish' survival curves with the 'number at risk' table and 'censoring count plot'. Other functions are also available to plot adjusted curves for `Cox` model and to visually examine 'Cox' model assumptions.

The survminer R package provides functions for facilitating survival analysis and visualization. The current version contains three main functions including:

  • ggsurvplot(): Draws survival curves with the 'number at risk' table.

  • ggcoxzph(): Graphical test of proportional hazards.

  • ggcoxfunctional(): Displays graphs of continuous explanatory variable against martingale residuals of null cox proportional hazards model. It helps to properly choose the functional form of continuous variable in cox model.

Find out more at http://www.sthda.com/english/rpkgs/survminer/, and check out the documentation and usage examples of each of the functions in survminer package.

Install from CRAN as follow:


Or, install the latest version from GitHub:

if(!require(devtools)) install.packages("devtools")
devtools::install_github("kassambara/survminer", build_vignettes = FALSE)

Load survminer:

# Loading required package: ggplot2
# Loading required package: survival
fit <- survfit(Surv(time, status) ~ sex, data = lung)

ggsurvplot(fit,  size = 1,  # change line size
           palette = c("#E7B800", "#2E9FDF"), # custom color palettes
           conf.int = TRUE, # Add confidence interval
           pval = TRUE, # Add p-value
           risk.table = TRUE, # Add risk table
           risk.table.col = "strata", # Risk table color by groups
           legend.labs = c("Male", "Female"), # Change legend labels
           risk.table.height = 0.25, # Useful to change when you have multiple groups
           ggtheme = theme_bw() # Change ggplot2 theme

Note that, additional arguments are available to customize the main title, axis labels, the font style, axis limits, legends and the number at risk table.

Focus on xlim and break.by.time parameters which do not change the calculations of estimates of survival surves. Also note risk.table.y.text.col = TRUE and risk.table.y.text = FALSE that provide bars instead of names in text annotations of the legend of risk table.

   fit,                     # survfit object with calculated statistics.
   risk.table = TRUE,       # show risk table.
   pval = TRUE,             # show p-value of log-rank test.
   conf.int = TRUE,         # show confidence intervals for 
                            # point estimaes of survival curves.
   xlim = c(0,500),         # present narrower X axis, but not affect
                            # survival estimates.
   xlab = "Time in days",   # customize X axis label.
   break.time.by = 100,     # break X axis in time intervals by 500.
   ggtheme = theme_light(), # customize plot and risk table with a theme.
 risk.table.y.text.col = T, # colour risk table text annotations.
  risk.table.y.text = FALSE # show bars instead of names in text annotations
                            # in legend of risk table

   fit,                     # survfit object with calculated statistics.
   risk.table = TRUE,       # show risk table.
   pval = TRUE,             # show p-value of log-rank test.
   conf.int = TRUE,         # show confidence intervals for 
                            # point estimaes of survival curves.
   xlim = c(0,500),         # present narrower X axis, but not affect
                            # survival estimates.
   xlab = "Time in days",   # customize X axis label.
   break.time.by = 100,     # break X axis in time intervals by 500.
   ggtheme = theme_light(), # customize plot and risk table with a theme.
  risk.table.y.text.col = T,# colour risk table text annotations.
  risk.table.y.text = FALSE,# show bars instead of names in text annotations
                            # in legend of risk table.
  ncensor.plot = TRUE,      # plot the number of censored subjects at time t
  conf.int.style = "step",  # customize style of confidence intervals
  surv.median.line = "hv",  # add the median survival pointer.
  legend.labs = 
    c("Male", "Female"),    # change legend labels.
  palette = 
    c("#E7B800", "#2E9FDF") # custom color palettes.


survminer 0.2.4

  • surv_summary() (v0.2.3) generated an error when the name of the variable used in survfit() can be found multiple times in the levels of the same variable. For example, variable = therapy; levels(therapy) --> "therapy" and "hormone therapy" (#86). This has been now fixed.

  • To extract variable names used in survival::survfit(), the R code strsplit(strata, "=|,\\s+", perl=TRUE) was used in the surv_summary() function [survminer v0.2.3]. The splitting was done at any "=" symbol in the string, causing an error when special characters (=, <=, >=) are used for the levels of a categorical variable (#91). This has been now fixed.

  • Now, ggsurvplot() draws correctly the risk.table (#93).

survminer 0.2.3

  • New function surv_summary() for creating data frame containing a nice summary of a survival curve (#64).
  • It's possible now to facet the output of ggsurvplot() by one or more factors (#64):
# Fit complexe survival curves
fit3 <- survfit( Surv(time, status) ~ sex + rx + adhere,
                data = colon )
# Visualize by faceting
# Plots are survival curves by sex faceted by rx and adhere factors.
ggsurv$plot +theme_bw() + facet_grid(rx ~ adhere)
  • Now, ggsurvplot() can be used to plot cox model (#67).
  • New 'myeloma' data sets added.
  • New functions added for determining and visualizing the optimal cutpoint of continuous variables for survival analyses:
    • surv_cutpoint(): Determine the optimal cutpoint for each variable using 'maxstat'. Methods defined for surv_cutpoint object are summary(), print() and plot().
    • surv_categorize(): Divide each variable values based on the cutpoint returned by surv_cutpoint() (#41).
  • New argument 'ncensor.plot' added to ggsurvplot(). A logical value. If TRUE, the number of censored subjects at time t is plotted. Default is FALSE (#18).
  • New argument 'conf.int.style' added in ggsurvplot() for changing the style of confidence interval bands.
  • Now, ggsurvplot() plots a stepped confidence interval when conf.int = TRUE (#65).
  • ggsurvplot() updated for compatibility with the future version of ggplot2 (v2.2.0) (#68)
  • ylab is now automatically adapted according to the value of the argument fun. For example, if fun = "event", then ylab will be "Cumulative event".
  • In ggsurvplot(), linetypes can now be adjusted by variables used to fit survival curves (#46)
  • In ggsurvplot(), the argument risk.table can be either a logical value (TRUE|FALSE) or a string ("absolute", "percentage"). If risk.table = "absolute", ggsurvplot() displays the absolute number of subjects at risk. If risk.table = "percentage", the percentage at risk is displayed. Use "abs_pct" to show both the absolute number and the percentage of subjects at risk. (#70).
  • New argument surv.median.line in ggsurvplot(): character vector for drawing a horizontal/vertical line at median (50%) survival. Allowed values include one of c("none", "hv", "h", "v"). v: vertical, h:horizontal (#61).
  • Now, default theme of ggcoxdiagnostics() is ggplot2::theme_bw().
  • ggcoxdiagnostics() can now handle a multivariate Cox model (#62)
  • ggcoxfunctional() now displays graphs of continuous variable against martingale residuals of null cox proportional hazards model (#63).
  • When subset is specified in the survfit() model, it's now considered in ggsurvplot() to report the right p-value on the subset of the data and not on the whole data sets (@jseoane, #71).
  • ggcoxzph() can now produce plots only for specified subset of varibles (@MarcinKosinski, #75)

survminer 0.2.2

  • New ggcoxdiagnostics function that plots diagnostic graphs for Cox Proportional Hazards model (@MarcinKosinski, #16).
  • Vignette added: Survival plots have never been so informative (@MarcinKosinski, #39)
  • New argument linetype in 'ggsurvplot' (@MarcinKosinski, #45). Allowed values includes i) "strata" for changing linetypes by strata (i.e. groups); ii) a numeric vector (e.g., c(1, 2)) or a character vector c("solid", "dashed").

survminer 0.2.1

  • New ggcoxzph function that displays a graph of the scaled Schoenfeld residuals, along with a smooth curve using 'ggplot2'. Wrapper around \link{plot.cox.zph}. (@MarcinKosinski, #13)

  • New ggcoxfunctional function that displays graphs of continuous explanatory variable against martingale residuals of null cox proportional hazards model, for each term in of the right side of input formula. This might help to properly choose the functional form of continuous variable in cox model, since fitted lines with lowess function should be linear to satisfy cox proportional hazards model assumptions. (@MarcinKosinski, #14)

  • New function theme_classic2: ggplot2 classic theme with axis line. This function replaces ggplot2::theme_classic, which does no longer display axis lines (since ggplot2 v2.1.0)

  • post-customization of color and fill no longer shows warnings like "Scale for 'fill' is already present. Adding another scale for 'fill', which will replace the existing scale" (@MarcinKosinski, #11).
  • now, post-customization of survival curve colors will automatically affect the risk table y axis text colors (@MarcinKosinski, #11).
  • Default value for the argument risk.table.y.text.col is now TRUE.
  • New argument risk.table.y.text for the function ggsurvplot. logical argument. Default is TRUE. If FALSE, risk table y axis tick labels will be hidden (@MarcinKosinski, #28).

survminer 0.2.0

  • New arguments in ggsurvplot for changing font style, size and color of main title, axis labels, axis tick labels and legend labels: font.main, font.x, font.y, font.tickslab, font.legend.

  • New arguments risk.table.title, risk.table.fontsize in ggsurvplot

  • New argument risk.table.y.text.col: logical value. Default value is FALSE. If TRUE, risk table tick labels will be colored by strata (@MarcinKosinski, #8).

  • print.ggsurvplot() function added: S3 method for class 'ggsurvplot'.

  • ggsurvplot returns an object of class ggsurvplot which is list containing two ggplot objects:

    • plot: the survival plot
    • table: the number at risk table per time
  • It's now possible to customize the output survival plot and the risk table returned by ggsurvplot, and to print again the final plot. (@MarcinKosinski, #2):
# Fit survival curves
fit<- survfit(Surv(time, status) ~ sex, data = lung)
# visualize
ggsurvplot(fit, pval = TRUE, conf.int = TRUE,
          risk.table = TRUE)
# Customize the output and then print
res <- ggsurvplot(fit, pval = TRUE, conf.int = TRUE,
           risk.table = TRUE)
res$table <- res$table + theme(axis.line = element_blank())
res$plot <- res$plot + labs(title = "Survival Curves")
  • p < 0.0001 is used (when pvalue < 0.0001).
  • ggtheme now affects risk.table (@MarcinKosinski, #1)

  • xlim changed to cartesian coordinates mode (@MarcinKosinski, #4). The Cartesian coordinate system is the most common type of coordinate system. It will zoom the plot (like you’re looking at it with a magnifying glass), without clipping the data.

  • Risk table and survival curves have now the same color and the same order

  • Plot width is no longer too small when legend position = "left" (@MarcinKosinski, #7).

survminer 0.1.1

  • ggsurvplot(): Drawing survival curves using ggplot2

Reference manual

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0.4.1 by Alboukadel Kassambara, 2 months ago


Report a bug at https://github.com/kassambara/survminer/issues

Browse source code at https://github.com/cran/survminer

Authors: Alboukadel Kassambara [aut, cre], Marcin Kosinski [aut], Przemyslaw Biecek [ctb], Scheipl Fabian [ctb]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

Task views: Survival Analysis

GPL-2 license

Imports grid, gridExtra, magrittr, maxstat, methods, scales, survival, stats, broom, dplyr, tidyr, survMisc, cmprsk, purrr, tibble

Depends on ggplot2, ggpubr

Suggests knitr, KMsurv, flexsurv

See at CRAN