Many neuro-oncology studies commonly assess the association between a prognostic factor (predictor) and disease or outcome, such as the association between age and glioma. Predictors can be continuous (eg, age) or categorical (eg, race/ethnicity). Effects of categorical predictors are frequently easier to visualize and interpret than effects of continuous variables. This makes it an attractive, and seemingly justifiable, option to subdivide the continuous predictors into categories (eg, age <50 years vs age ≥50 years). However, this approach results in loss of information (and power) compared to the continuous version. This review outlines the use cases for continuous and categorized predictors and provides tips and pitfalls for interpretation of these approaches.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)