Clinical application of CSF biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease: From rationale to ratios

Femke H. Bouwman, Giovanni B. Frisoni, Sterling C. Johnson, Xiaochun Chen, Sebastiaan Engelborghs, Takeshi Ikeuchi, Claire Paquet, Craig Ritchie, Sasha Bozeat, Frances-Catherine Quevenco, Charlotte Teunissen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Biomarker testing is recommended for the accurate and timely diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using illustrative case narratives we consider how cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarker tests may be used in different presentations of cognitive impairment to facilitate timely and differential diagnosis, improving diagnostic accuracy, providing prognostic information, and guiding personalized management in diverse scenarios. Evidence shows that (1) CSF ratios are superior to amyloid beta (Aβ)1-42 alone; (2) concordance of CSF ratios to amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) is better than Aβ1-42 alone; and (3) phosphorylated tau (p-tau)/Aβ1-42 ratio is superior to p-tau alone. CSF biomarkers are recommended for the exclusion of AD as the underlying cause of cognitive impairment, diagnosis of AD at an early stage, differential diagnosis of AD in individuals presenting with other neuropsychiatric symptoms, accurate diagnosis of AD in an atypical presentation, and for clinical trial enrichment. Highlights: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarker testing may be underused outside specialist centers. CSF biomarkers improve diagnostic accuracy, guiding personalized management of AD. CSF ratios (amyloid beta [Aβ]1-42/Aβ1-40 and phosphorylated tau/Aβ1-42) perform better than single markers. CSF ratios produce fewer false-negative and false-positive results than individual markers. CSF biomarkers should be included in diagnostic work-up of AD and mild cognitive impairment due to AD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12314
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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