A compelling need in the field of neurodegenerative diseases is the development and validation of biomarkers for early identification and differential diagnosis. The availability of positron emission tomography (PET) neuroimaging tools for the assessment of molecular biology and neuropathology has opened new venues in the diagnostic design and the conduction of new clinical trials. PET techniques, allowing the in vivo assessment of brain function and pathology changes, are increasingly showing great potential in supporting clinical diagnosis also in the early and even preclinical phases of dementia. This review will summarize the most recent evidence on fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose-, amyloid -, tau -, and neuroinflammation - PET tools, highlighting strengths and limitations and possible new perspectives in research and clinical applications. Appropriate use of PET tools is crucial for a prompt diagnosis and target evaluation of new developed drugs aimed at slowing or preventing dementia.
Keywords: PET; amyloid; biomarker; dementia; diagnosis; fluorodeoxyglucose; molecular imaging; neuroinflammation; prognosis; tau.