Publications & Posters

Integrated evaluation of a panel of neurochemical biomarkers to optimize diagnosis and prognosis in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

European Journal of Neurology | March 9, 2022

Falzone YM, Domi T, Mandelli A, Pozzi L, Schito P, Russo T, Barbieri A, Fazio R, Volontè MA, Magnani G, Del Carro U, Carrera P, Malaspina A, Agosta F, Quattrini A, Furlan R, Filippi M and Riva N

European Journal of Neurology. 2022

This study was performed using the Quanterix HD-1 Analyzer.


Background and purpose

This study was undertaken to determine the diagnostic and prognostic value of a panel of serum biomarkers and to correlate their concentrations with several clinical parameters in a large cohort of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).


One hundred forty-three consecutive patients with ALS and a control cohort consisting of 70 patients with other neurodegenerative disorders (DEG), 70 patients with ALS mimic disorders (ALSmd), and 45 healthy controls (HC) were included. Serum neurofilament light chain (NfL), ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase isozyme L1 (UCHL1), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and total tau protein levels were measured using ultrasensitive single molecule array.


NfL correlated with disease progression rate (p < 0.001) and with the measures of upper motor neuron burden (p < 0.001). NfL was higher in the ALS patients with classic and pyramidal phenotype. GFAP was raised in ALS with cognitive–behavioral impairment compared with ALS with normal cognition. NfL displayed the best diagnostic performance in discriminating ALS from HC (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.990), DEG (AUC = 0.946), and ALSmd (AUC = 0.850). UCHL1 performed well in distinguishing ALS from HC (AUC = 0.761), whereas it was not helpful in differentiating ALS from DEG and ALSmd. In multivariate analysis, NfL (p < 0.001) and UCHL1 (p = 0.038) were independent prognostic factors. Survival analysis combining NfL and UCHL1 effectively stratified patients with lower NfL levels (p < 0.001).


NfL is a useful biomarker for the diagnosis of ALS and the strongest predictor of survival. UCHL1 is an independent prognostic factor helpful in stratifying survival in patients with low NfL levels, likely to have slowly progressive disease. GFAP reflects extramotor involvement, namely cognitive impairment or frontotemporal dementia.