Understanding diagnostic tests 3: receiver operating characteristic curves

Akobeng, Anthony K (2007) Understanding diagnostic tests 3: receiver operating characteristic curves Acta Paediatrica, 96 (5). pp. 644-647. ISSN 0803-5253

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2006.00178.x

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2006.00178.x


The results of many clinical tests are quantitative and are provided on a continuous scale. To help decide the presence or absence of disease, a cut-off point for 'normal' or 'abnormal' is chosen. The sensitivity and specificity of a test vary according to the level that is chosen as the cut-off point. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, a graphical technique for describing and comparing the accuracy of diagnostic tests, is obtained by plotting the sensitivity of a test on the y axis against 1-specificity on the x axis. Two methods commonly used to establish the optimal cut-off point include the point on the ROC curve closest to (0, 1) and the Youden index. The area under the ROC curve provides a measure of the overall performance of a diagnostic test. In this paper, the author explains how the ROC curve can be used to select optimal cut-off points for a test result, to assess the diagnostic accuracy of a test, and to compare the usefulness of tests.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ID Code:129565
Deposited On:23 Nov 2022 11:03
Last Modified:23 Nov 2022 11:03

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