The area under an ROC curve with limited information

Med Decis Making. 2003 Mar-Apr;23(2):160-6. doi: 10.1177/0272989X03251246.


The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve of a diagnostic test can be used as a summary measure for its discriminative ability. If only a single point of an ROC curve is available, then the entire form of the ROC curve is unknown and the area under it cannot be calculated. Assuming that the unknown ROC curve is either monotone or concave, lower and upper bounds are derived for the area. From these bounds, the minmax approximations are obtained. Compared to only assuming monotonicity, assuming that the unknown ROC curve is concave renders a higher minmax approximation for the area under it, with tighter bounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Area Under Curve*
  • Diagnostic Techniques and Procedures / statistics & numerical data*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Humans
  • ROC Curve*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity