AAN: Florbetaben-PET Detects β-Amyloid Plaques During Life

Comparison of results from end-of-life patients, postmortem reveals high specificity, sensitivity

MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- An imaging method, florbetaben-positron emission tomography (PET), accurately detects β-amyloid, a sign of Alzheimer's disease, in living people, according to the results of a phase 3 trial presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 21 to 28 in New Orleans.

To investigate the ability of florbetaben-PET to detect β-amyloid in living patients, Marwan Sabbagh, M.D., from the Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Ariz., and colleagues conducted magnetic resonance imaging-PET in end-of-life patients with suspected Alzheimer's disease as well as in healthy controls. A total of 186 regions from 31 brains from end-of-life patients and 60 regions from 10 healthy volunteers were assessed. Photodocumentation of autopsies allowed for comparison of brain regions with these images.

The researchers found that florbetaben imaging detected β-amyloid with a sensitivity of 77 percent and a specificity of 94 percent in the regional comparison. In comparing the visual with the postmortem diagnosis, the sensitivity was 100 percent and the specificity was 92 percent.

"These results confirm that florbetaben is able to detect β-amyloid plaques in the brain during life with great accuracy and is a suitable biomarker," Sabbagh said in a statement. "This is an easy, non-invasive way to assist an Alzheimer's diagnosis at an early stage."

The study was supported by Bayer HealthCare, which is developing Florbetaben-PET Tracer.

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