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Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at high risk of progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD) dementia, but some remain stable. There is a need to identify those at higher risk of progression to improve patient management and outcomes. To evaluate the trajectory of plasma neurofilament light chain (pNFL) prior to progression from MCI to AD dementia, the performance of pNFL, in combination with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), as a predictor of progression from MCI to AD dementia and to inform clinicians on the use of pNFL as a predictive biomarker. Participants (n = 440) with MCI and longitudinal follow-up (mean = 4.2 years) from the AD Neuroimaging Initiative dataset were included. pNFL as a marker for neurodegeneration and the MMSE as a cognitive measure were investigated as simple/practical predictors of progression. The risk of progressing from MCI to AD dementia associated with pNFL and MMSE scores was assessed using Cox and logistic regression models. The current risk of progression to AD dementia was 37%higher in individuals with high pNFL (> 56 ng/L) compared to those with average pNFL (≤40 ng/L). A combination of baseline pNFL and MMSE could differentiate those who progressed within 5 years (AUC = 0.75) from stable individuals. Including change in MMSE over 6-12 months further improved the model (AUC = 0.84). Our findings reveal that combining pNFL with a simple dementia screener (MMSE) can reliably predict whether a person with MCI is likely to progress to AD dementia within 5 years.


Nicolas Darmanthé, Hossein Tabatabaei-Jafari, Nicolas Cherbuin, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Combination of Plasma Neurofilament Light Chain and Mini-Mental State Examination Score Predicts Progression from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Alzheimer's Disease within 5 Years. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD. 2021;82(3):951-964

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PMID: 34120902

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