Author(s): Sreide K, Krner H, Sreide JA, Sreide K, Krner H, Sreide JA
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Abstract In surgical research, the ability to correctly classify one type of condition or specific outcome from another is of great importance for variables influencing clinical decision making. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis is a useful tool in assessing the diagnostic accuracy of any variable with a continuous spectrum of results. In order to rule a disease state in or out with a given test, the test results are usually binary, with arbitrarily chosen cut-offs for defining disease versus health, or for grading of disease severity. In the postgenomic era, the translation from bench-to-bedside of biomarkers in various tissues and body fluids requires appropriate tools for analysis. In contrast to predetermining a cut-off value to define disease, the advantages of applying ROC analysis include the ability to test diagnostic accuracy across the entire range of variable scores and test outcomes. In addition, ROC analysis can easily examine visual and statistical comparisons across tests or scores. ROC is also favored because it is thought to be independent from the prevalence of the condition under investigation. ROC analysis is used in various surgical settings and across disciplines, including cancer research, biomarker assessment, imaging evaluation, and assessment of risk scores.With appropriate use, ROC curves may help identify the most appropriate cutoff value for clinical and surgical decision making and avoid confounding effects seen with subjective ratings. ROC curve results should always be put in perspective, because a good classifier does not guarantee the expected clinical outcome. In this review, we discuss the fundamental roles, suggested presentation, potential biases, and interpretation of ROC analysis in surgical research.
This article was published in Ann Surg
and referenced in Journal of Medical Diagnostic Methods