Joint Confidence Region Estimation on Predictive Values

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Pharmaceutical Statistics




For evaluating diagnostic accuracy of inherently continuous diagnostic tests/biomarkers, sensitivity and specificity are well-known measures both of which depend on a diagnostic cut-off, which is usually estimated. Sensitivity (specificity) is the conditional probability of testing positive (negative) given the true disease status. However, a more relevant question is “what is the probability of having (not having) a disease if a test is positive (negative)?”. Such post-test probabilities are denoted as positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV). The PPV and NPV at the same estimated cut-off are correlated, hence it is desirable to make the joint inference on PPV and NPV to account for such correlation. Existing inference methods for PPV and NPV focus on the individual confidence intervals and they were developed under binomial distribution assuming binary instead of continuous test results. Several approaches are proposed to estimate the joint confidence region as well as the individual confidence intervals of PPV and NPV. Simulation results indicate the proposed approaches perform well with satisfactory coverage probabilities for normal and non-normal data and, additionally, outperform existing methods with improved coverage as well as narrower confidence intervals for PPV and NPV. The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) data set is used to illustrate the proposed approaches and compare them with the existing methods.