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Prospective Accuracy for Longitudinal Markers


  • Yingye Zheng,

    Corresponding author
    1. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., M2-B500, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, Washington 98109-1024, U.S.A.
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  • Patrick J. Heagerty

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, P.O. Box 357232, Seattle, Washington 98195-7232, U.S.A.
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Summary In this article we focus on appropriate statistical methods for characterizing the prognostic value of a longitudinal clinical marker. Frequently it is possible to obtain repeated measurements. If the measurement has the ability to signify a pending change in the clinical status of a patient then the marker has the potential to guide key medical decisions. Heagerty, Lumley, and Pepe (2000, Biometrics56, 337–344) proposed characterizing the diagnostic accuracy of a marker measured at baseline by calculating receiver operating characteristic curves for cumulative disease or death incidence by time t. They considered disease status as a function of time, D(t) = 1(Tt), for a clinical event time T. In this article we aim to address the question of how well Y(s), a diagnostic marker measured at time s(s≥ 0, after the baseline time) can discriminate between people who become diseased and those who do not in a subsequent time interval [s, t]. We assume the disease status is derived from an observed event time T and thus interest is in individuals who transition from disease free to diseased. We seek methods that also allow the inclusion of prognostic covariates that permit patient-specific decision guidelines when forecasting a future change in health status. Our proposal is to use flexible semiparametric models to characterize the bivariate distribution of the event time and marker values at an arbitrary time s. We illustrate the new methods by analyzing a well-known data set from HIV research, the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study data.