In the April 8 Lancet Neurology, researchers led by Bob Olsson at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, reported the most comprehensive meta-analysis of published Alzheimer’s disease fluid biomarker data to date. The researchers scoured literature going back 30 years for studies on 15 CSF and plasma markers of AD and neurodegeneration. From more than 4,000 publications, they found 231 that met inclusion criteria, yielding data on 15,699 AD patients and 13,018 controls (see April 2016 news). 

Among the CSF markers, neurofilament light chain joined the core AD biomarkers total tau, phospho-tau, and Aβ42 in having the most robust effect sizes. The three core AD biomarkers also distinguished MCI due to AD from stable MCI. Moderate effects emerged for four markers outside of AD’s core amyloid and tau pathologies—neuron-specific enolase, visinin-like protein 1, heart fatty acid-binding protein, and YKL-40. Seven other markers showed no significant differences from controls or weak effect sizes. In plasma, only total tau significantly associated with AD.

This paper grew out of a collaboration between Alzforum and Henrik Zetterberg and Kaj Blennow at the University of Gothenburg, which aims to organize and visualize the fluid biomarker literature in an interactive format available to the entire research community (see AlzBiomarker). In this database, users can view details of each meta-analysis, compare biomarker data, download forest plots, and drill deeper into the data curated from each paper.

Read the Lancet Neurology paper, made freely available by Elsevier, then view the data presentation by Bob Olsson and a tutorial on how to use the AlzBiomarker resource by Kelly Dakin. Henrik Zetterberg sketched out future plans for the database, and Johannes Streffer provided the perspective of an industry clinical trials researcher. Anne Fagan moderated the panel's discussions.

We thank Elsevier for graciously opening access to this paper




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News Citations

  1. Meta-Analysis of 21 Years of Alzheimer's Fluid Biomarker Research

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Primary Papers

  1. . CSF and blood biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Neurol. 2016 Jun;15(7):673-84. Epub 2016 Apr 8 PubMed.