Cutpoint selection for discretizing a continuous covariate for generalized estimating equations

Comput Stat Data Anal. 2011 Jan 1;55(1):226-235. doi: 10.1016/j.csda.2010.02.016.


We consider the problem of dichotomizing a continuous covariate when performing a regression analysis based on a generalized estimation approach. The problem involves estimation of the cutpoint for the covariate and testing the hypothesis that the binary covariate constructed from the continuous covariate has a significant impact on the outcome. Due to the multiple testing used to find the optimal cutpoint, we need to make an adjustment to the usual significance test to preserve the type-I error rates. We illustrate the techniques on one data set of patients given unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Here the question is whether the CD34 cell dose given to patient affects the outcome of the transplant and what is the smallest cell dose which is needed for good outcomes.