Target engagement in an alzheimer trial: Crenezumab lowers amyloid β oligomers in cerebrospinal fluid

Ann Neurol. 2019 Aug;86(2):215-224. doi: 10.1002/ana.25513. Epub 2019 Jun 22.


Objective: Oligomeric forms of amyloid β protein (oAβ) are believed to be principally responsible for neurotoxicity in Alzheimer disease (AD), but it is not known whether anti-Aβ antibodies are capable of lowering oAβ levels in humans.

Methods: We developed an ultrasensitive immunoassay and used it to measure oAβ in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 104 AD subjects participating in the ABBY and BLAZE phase 2 trials of the anti-Aβ antibody crenezumab. Patients received subcutaneous (SC) crenezumab (300mg) or placebo every 2 weeks, or intravenous (IV) crenezumab (15mg/kg) or placebo every 4 weeks for 68 weeks. Ninety-eight of the 104 patients had measurable baseline oAβ levels, and these were compared to levels at week 69 in placebo (n = 28), SC (n = 35), and IV (n = 35) treated patients.

Results: Among those receiving crenezumab, 89% of SC and 86% of IV patients had lower levels of oAβ at week 69 versus baseline. The difference in the proportion of patients with decreasing levels was significant for both treatment arms: p = 0.0035 for SC and p = 0.01 for IV crenezumab versus placebo. The median percentage change was -48% in the SC arm and -43% in the IV arm. No systematic change was observed in the placebo group, with a median change of -13% and equivalent portions with negative and positive change.

Interpretation: Crenezumab lowered CSF oAβ levels in the large majority of treated patients tested. These results support engagement of the principal pathobiological target in AD and identify CSF oAβ as a novel pharmacodynamic biomarker for use in trials of anti-Aβ agents. ANN NEUROL 2019;86:215-224.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Biomarkers
  • crenezumab