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AD/PD 2022 | Comparing the performance of novel biomarkers across the spectrum of Alzheimer’s disease

Pamela Lukasewicz Ferreira, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, discusses the findings of a head-to-head comparison of novel plasma biomarkers and their relationship with amyloid (Aβ) PET and tau PET at different time points across the Alzheimer’s disease spectrum. Plasma p-Tau231, p-Tau181, neurofilament light (NfL), GFAP, and Aβ42/Aβ40 were measured in 230 individuals who underwent cognitive assessment and PET imaging. Following adjustment for demographic factors, it was demonstrated that p-tau231 had the strongest association with both Aβ PET and tau PET in cognitively unimpaired individuals. In the cognitively impaired cohort, GFAP was most strongly associated with Aβ PET and tau PET, performing better than plasma p-tau and Aβ markers. These findings demonstrate that plasma p-Tau231 may be useful as a marker of early disease. This interview took place at the AD/PD™ 2022 Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Transcript (edited for clarity)

The last years and like especially this year, we can see that different studies comparing the performance of the biomarkers, the plasma biomarkers. We have studies with only the plasma, comparing the plasma epitopes, comparing the Aβ methods, but there is still a missing link, to see the performance of all biomarkers, GFAP, p-tau and Aβ, to see which one performs better to identify Aβ positivity, p-tau positivity...

The last years and like especially this year, we can see that different studies comparing the performance of the biomarkers, the plasma biomarkers. We have studies with only the plasma, comparing the plasma epitopes, comparing the Aβ methods, but there is still a missing link, to see the performance of all biomarkers, GFAP, p-tau and Aβ, to see which one performs better to identify Aβ positivity, p-tau positivity.

So our idea in this study was to divide the groups in cognitive unimpaired and cognitive impaired, and to compare the performance of each biomarker to see which one performs better in each stage, like which one is going to be the best one to predict Aβ and tau positivity in cognitive unimpaired individuals and cognitive impaired individuals. That’s very important because we need to know which one is the best biomarker to detect Aβ and tau positivity in CU individuals. That’s like our main population so that when someone goes to the doctor, like he knows like these people don’t have symptoms, but which one of the biomarkers would be the best one to measure when you want to know if these people is at risk of AD or not.

So our main findings were very interesting because in CU individuals for Aβ and tau positivity, the best biomarker was the p-tau 231, that is known to be an early biomarker for AD pathophysiology. For the cognitive unimpaired individuals the best one was the GFAP and, again, like for the Aβ and tau positivity. We didn’t expect to find the same one for both amyloids and tau, but it was very interesting. And if we see that the same one is for Aβ and tau, it’s even easier because you need to measure only one biomarker.

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