Objective: To compare the diagnostic accuracy and the prognostic value of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tests across prion disease subtypes.
Methods: We used a single-molecule immunoassay to measure tau and neurofilament light chain (NfL) protein levels in the plasma and assessed CSF total(t)-tau, NfL and protein 14-3-3 levels in patients with prion disease (n=336), non-prion rapidly progressive dementias (n=106) and non-neurodegenerative controls (n=37). We then evaluated each plasma and CSF marker for diagnosis and their association with survival, taking into account the disease subtype, which is a strong independent prognostic factor in prion disease.
Results: Plasma tau and NfL concentrations were higher in patients with prion disease than in non-neurodegenerative controls and non-prion rapidly progressive dementias. Plasma tau showed higher diagnostic value than plasma NfL, but a lower accuracy than the CSF proteins t-tau and 14-3-3. In the whole prion cohort, both plasma (tau and NfL) and CSF (t-tau, 14-3-3 and NfL) markers were significantly associated with survival and showed similar prognostic values. However, the intrasubtype analysis revealed that only CSF t-tau in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) MM(V)1, plasma tau and CSF t-tau in sCJD VV2, and plasma NfL in slowly progressive prion diseases were significantly associated with survival after accounting for covariates.
Conclusions: Plasma markers have lower diagnostic accuracy than CSF biomarkers. Plasma tau and NfL and CSF t-tau are significantly associated with survival in prion disease in a subtype-specific manner and can be used to improve clinical trial stratification and clinical care.
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