Cost-Utility of Using Alzheimer's Disease Biomarkers in Cerebrospinal Fluid to Predict Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Dementia

J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;60(4):1477-1487. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170324.


Background: Diagnostic research criteria for Alzheimer's disease support the use of biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to improve the accuracy of the prognosis regarding progression to dementia for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the potential incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of adding CSF biomarker testing to the standard diagnostic workup to determine the prognosis for patients with MCI.

Methods: In an early technology assessment, a mathematical simulation model was built, using available evidence on added prognostic value as well as expert opinion to estimate the incremental costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) of 20,000 virtual MCI patients with (intervention strategy) and without (control strategy) relying on CSF, from a health-care sector perspective and with a 5-year time horizon.

Results: Adding the CSF test improved the accuracy of prognosis by 11%. This resulted in an average QALY gain of 0.046 and € 432 additional costs per patient, representing an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of € 9,416.

Conclusion: The results show the potential of CSF biomarkers in current practice from a health-economics perspective. This result was, however, marked by a high degree of uncertainty, and empirical research is required into the impact of a prognosis on worrying, false-positive/negative prognosis, and stigmatization.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; cerebrospinal fluid; cost-utility; economic evaluation; mild cognitive impairment; prognosis; risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / economics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / economics*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Disease Progression
  • False Negative Reactions
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Prognosis
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Social Stigma
  • Uncertainty


  • Biomarkers