Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography: emerging roles in the evaluation of putative Alzheimer's disease-modifying treatments

Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Dec;32 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S44-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 7.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is associated with characteristic and progressive reductions in flourodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) measurements of the regional cerebral metabolic rate for glucose. These reductions begin years before the onset of symptoms, are correlated with clinical severity, and may help predict an affected patient's clinical course and neuropathological diagnosis. Like several other AD biomarkers, FDG PET has the potential to accelerate the evaluation of AD-modifying treatments, particularly in the earliest clinical and preclinical stages. This article considers FDG PET's role in the detection and tracking of AD, its emerging roles in the evaluation of disease-slowing treatments, some of the issues involved in the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of FDG PET data, and the evidence needed to help qualify FDG PET and other biomarkers for use in the accelerated approval of AD-slowing treatments. It recommends scientific strategies and public policies to further establish the role of FDG PET and other AD biomarkers in therapeutic trials and find demonstrably effective disease-modifying and presymptomatic AD treatments as quickly as possible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes*
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*


  • Biomarkers
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose