Blood-based biomarkers for screening may guide tau positrion emissition tomography (PET) scan referrals to optimize prognostic evaluation in Alzheimer’s disease. Plasma Aβ42/Aβ40, pTau181, pTau217, pTau231, NfL, and GFAP were measured along with tau-PET in memory clinic patients with subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment or dementia, in the Swedish BioFINDER-2 study (n = 548) and in the TRIAD study (n = 179). For each plasma biomarker, cutoffs were determined for 90%, 95%, or 97.5% sensitivity to detect tau-PET-positivity. We calculated the percentage of patients below the cutoffs (who would not undergo tau-PET; “saved scans”) and the tau-PET-positivity rate among participants above the cutoffs (who would undergo tau-PET; “positive predictive value”). Generally, plasma pTau217 performed best. At the 95% sensitivity cutoff in both cohorts, pTau217 resulted in avoiding nearly half tau-PET scans, with a tau-PET-positivity rate among those who would be referred for a scan around 70%. And although tau-PET was strongly associated with subsequent cognitive decline, in BioFINDER-2 it predicted cognitive decline only among individuals above the referral cutoff on plasma pTau217, supporting that this workflow could reduce prognostically uninformative tau-PET scans. In conclusion, plasma pTau217 may guide selection of patients for tau-PET, when accurate prognostic information is of clinical value.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2311
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Neurology


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