Biomarkers of Parkinson's disease: 20 years later

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2019 Jul;126(7):803-813. doi: 10.1007/s00702-019-02001-3. Epub 2019 Apr 4.


Despite intensive effort, biomarker research for the detection of prodromal stage, diagnosis and progression of Parkinson's disease (PD) falls short of expectations. This article reviews the attempts in the last 20 years to find a biomarker, addresses challenges along the biomarker search and suggests the steps that should be taken to overcome these challenges. Although several biomarkers are currently available, none of them is specific enough for diagnosis, prediction of future PD or disease progression. The main reason for the failure finding a strong biomarker seems to be drastic heterogeneity of PD, which exhibits itself in all domains; from the clinic to pathophysiology or genetics. The diversity in patient selection, assessment methods or outcomes in biomarker studies also limit the interpretation and generalizability of the data. In search of a reliable biomarker, consideration of novel approaches encompassing individual demographic, clinical, genetic, epigenetic and environmental differences, employment of strategies enabling marker combinations, designing multicenter studies with compatible assessment methods, integration of data from preclinical domains and utilization of novel technology-based assessments are necessary.

Keywords: Biomarker; Parkinson’s disease; Prodromal Parkinson’s disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers