Background: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no noninvasive and disease-specific test for premortem diagnosis. Previous studies have suggested that, in the proper clinical context, the 14-3-3 protein in cerebrospinal fluid is a reliable marker for sporadic CJD.
Objective: To assess the sensitivity of the cerebrospinal fluid 14-3-3 protein test among patients with definite sporadic CJD.
Design and setting: We reviewed cases of sporadic CJD referred to our institution that were ultimately proved by pathological examination and on which cerebrospinal fluid 14-3-3 testing had been performed.
Participants: Patients with CJD referred to our institution for clinical and/or pathological evaluation (biopsy- or autopsy-confirmed diagnosis) from January 1, 1998, through July 15, 2002, and on whom 14-3-3 testing had been performed. Thirty-two such patients with definite sporadic CJD were identified. Main Outcome Measure The 14-3-3 test results, from various laboratories, in these 32 patients.
Results: Seventeen of the 32 patients had a positive result for the 14-3-3 test, yielding a sensitivity of only 53%. A positive 14-3-3 result was significantly correlated with a shorter time between disease onset and the lumbar puncture for the 14-3-3 test.
Conclusions: Testing for the 14-3-3 protein is only modestly sensitive to sporadic CJD, and we caution against ruling out a diagnosis of the disease on the basis of a negative 14-3-3 result.