A multinational study distinguishing Alzheimer's and healthy patients using cerebrospinal fluid tau/Aβ42 cutoff with concordance to amyloid positron emission tomography imaging

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2017 Mar 6;6:201-209. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2017.02.004. eCollection 2017.


Introduction: Changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau and amyloid β (Aβ)42 accompany development of Alzheimer's brain pathology. Robust tau and Aβ42 immunoassays were developed to establish a tau/Aβ42 cutoff distinguishing mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) subjects from healthy elderly control (HC) subjects.

Methods: A CSF tau/Aβ42 cutoff criteria was chosen, which distinguished the groups and maximized concordance with amyloid PET. Performance was assessed using an independent validation cohort.

Results: A tau/Aβ42 = 0.215 cutoff provided 94.8% sensitivity and 77.7% specificity. Concordance with PET visual reads was estimated at 86.9% in a ∼50% PET positive population. In the validation cohort, the cutoff demonstrated 78.4% sensitivity and 84.9% specificity to distinguish the AD and HC populations.

Discussion: A tau/Aβ42 cutoff with acceptable sensitivity and specificity distinguished HC from mild-to-moderate AD subjects and maximized concordance to brain amyloidosis. The defined cutoff demonstrated that CSF analysis may be useful as a surrogate to imaging assessment of AD pathology.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid β42; Diagnostic test assessment; PET; Tau.