Publications & Posters

Plasma biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease: a field-test in a memory clinic

 Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry | April 3, 2023

Altomare D, Stampacchia S, Ribaldi F, Tomczyk S, Chevalier C, Poulain G, Asadi S, Bancila B, Marizzoni M, Martins M, Lathuiliere A, Scheffler M, Ashton NJ, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Kern I, Frias M, Garibotto V, Frisoni GB

 J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2023

This study was performed using Simoa Homebrew assay(s).


Background The key Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers are traditionally measured with techniques/exams that are either expensive (amyloid-positron emission tomography (PET) and tau-PET), invasive (cerebrospinal fluid Aβ42 and p-tau181), or poorly specific (atrophy on MRI and hypometabolism on fluorodeoxyglucose-PET). Recently developed plasma biomarkers could significantly enhance the efficiency of the diagnostic pathway in memory clinics and improve patient care. This study aimed to: (1) confirm the correlations between plasma and traditional AD biomarkers, (2) assess the diagnostic accuracy of plasma biomarkers as compared with traditional biomarkers, and (3) estimate the proportion of traditional exams potentially saved thanks to the use of plasma biomarkers.

Methods Participants were 200 patients with plasma biomarkers and at least one traditional biomarker collected within 12 months.

Results Overall, plasma biomarkers significantly correlated with biomarkers assessed through traditional techniques: up to r=0.50 (p<0.001) among amyloid, r=0.43 (p=0.002) among tau, and r=−0.23 (p=0.001) among neurodegeneration biomarkers. Moreover, plasma biomarkers showed high accuracy in discriminating the biomarker status (normal or abnormal) determined by using traditional biomarkers: up to area under the curve (AUC)=0.87 for amyloid, AUC=0.82 for tau, and AUC=0.63 for neurodegeneration status. The use of plasma as a gateway to traditional biomarkers using cohort-specific thresholds (with 95% sensitivity and 95% specificity) could save up to 49% of amyloid, 38% of tau, and 16% of neurodegeneration biomarkers.

Conclusion The implementation of plasma biomarkers could save a remarkable proportion of more expensive traditional exams, making the diagnostic workup more cost-effective and improving patient care.