Both plasma tau phosphorylated at threonine-181 (pTau181) and tau PET show potential for detecting Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology and predicting clinical progression. In this study, we performed a head-to-head comparison between plasma pTau181 and tau PET along the AD continuum. Methods: We included participants from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort who underwent 18F-flortaucipir (tau) PET and had a plasma sample biobanked within 12 mo from tau PET. Fifty subjective cognitive decline (SCD) participants (31 Ab-negative and 19 Ab-positive) and 60 Ab-positive participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia due to AD were included. A subset had 2-y longitudinal plasma pTau181 and tau PET available (n 5 40). Longitudinal neuropsychological test data covering 3.2 6 2.7 y from both before and after tau PET were available. Plasma pTau181 and tau PET were compared in their accuracies in discriminating between cognitive stage (MCI/AD vs. SCD) and preclinical Ab status (SCD Ab-positive vs. SCD Ab-negative), their associations with cross-sectional and longitudinal neuropsychological test performance, and their longitudinal changes over time. Results: When discriminating between preclinical Ab status, the area under the curve (AUC) for plasma pTau181 (0.83) and tau PET (entorhinal, 0.87; temporal, 0.85; neocortical, 0.67) were equally high (all DeLong P . 0.05), but tau PET outperformed plasma pTau181 in discriminating MCI/AD from SCD (AUC for plasma pTau181: 0.74; AUCs for tau PET: entorhinal, 0.89; temporal, 0.92; neocortical, 0.89) (all P, 0.01). Overall, tau PET showed stronger associations with cognitive decline and was associated with a wider variety of cognitive tests than plasma pTau181 (plasma pTau181, 20.02 . b, 20.12; tau PET, 20.01 . b, 20.22). Both plasma pTau181 and tau PET increased more steeply over time in MCI/AD than in SCD (P, 0.05), but only tau PET annual changes were associated with cognitive decline. Conclusion: Our results suggest that plasma pTau181 and tau PET perform equally well in identifying Ab pathology but that tau PET better monitors disease stage and clinical progression.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2023|
- Alzheimer’s disease
- plasma pTau181
- tau PET