Literarure Review: Brain Biomarkers

Prognostic value of molecular and imaging biomarkers in patients with supratentorial glioma

Lopci E, Riva M, Olivari L, Raneri F, Soffietti R, et al. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2017; 44(7): 1155–1164

PURPOSE: We evaluated the relationship between 11C-methionine PET (11C-METH PET) findings and molecular biomarkers in patients with supratentorial glioma who underwent surgery.
METHODS: A consecutive series of 109 patients with pathologically proven glioma (64 men, 45 women; median age 43 years) referred to our Institution from March 2012 to January 2015 for tumour resection and who underwent preoperative 11C-METH PET were analysed. Semi-quantitative evaluation of the 11C-METH PET images included SUVmax, region of interest-to-normal brain SUV ratio (SUVratio) and metabolic tumour volume (MTV). Imaging findings were correlated with disease outcome in terms of progression-free survival (PFS), and compared with other clinical biological data, including IDH1 mutation status, 1p/19q codeletion and MGMT promoter methylation. The patients were monitored for a mean period of 16.7 months (median 13 months).
RESULTS: In all patients, the tumour was identified on 11C-METH PET. Significant differences in SUVmax, SUVratio and MTV were observed in relation to tumour grade (P<0.001). IDH1 mutation was found in 49 patients, 1p/19q codeletion in 58 patients and MGMT promoter methylation in 74 patients. SUVmax and SUVratio were significantly inversely correlated with the presence of IDH1 mutation (P<0.001). Using the 2016 WHO classification, SUVmax and SUVratio were significantly higher in patients with primary glioblastoma (IDH1-negative) than in those with other diffuse gliomas (P<0.001). Relapse or progression was documented in 48 patients (median PFS 8.7 months). Cox regression analysis showed that SUVmax and SUVratio, tumour grade, tumour type on 2016 WHO classification, IDH1 mutation status, 1p/19q codeletion and MGMT promoter methylation were significantly associated with PFS. None of these factors was found to be an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis.
CONCLUSION: 11C-METH PET parameters are significantly correlated with histological grade and IDH1 mutation status in patients with glioma. Grade, pathological classification, molecular biomarkers, SUVmax and SUVratio were prognostic factors for PFS in this cohort of patients. The trial was registered with (registration: NCT02518061).

Expression of cell cycle regulators and biomarkers of proliferation and regrowth in human pituitary adenomas

Gruppetta M Formosa R, Falzon S, Ariff Scicluna S, Falzon E, et al. Pituitary 2017; 20(3): 358–371

PURPOSE: The pathogenesis of pituitary adenomas (PA) is complex. Ki-67, pituitary tumour transforming gene (PTTG), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), cyclin D1, c-MYC and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) protein expression was analysed and correlated with tumour and patient characteristics.
METHODS: 74 pituitary tumour samples (48 non-functional PA, 26 functional PAs); immunohistochemical analysis of protein expression, retrospective analysis of MR images and in vitro analysis of octreotide treatment was carried out on GH3 cells.
RESULTS: PTTG expression was negatively associated with age and positively with PA size, regrowth and Ki-67 index. Cyclin D1 correlated with Ki-67 and tumour size. c-MYC negatively correlated with size of tumour and age, and correlated with PTTG expression. Somatostatin analogue treatment was associated with lower Ki-67, PTTG and cyclin D1 expression while T2 hypointense PAs were associated with lower PTTG, cyclin D1, c-MYC and Ki-67. In vitro analyses confirmed the effect of somatostatin analogue treatment on PTTG and cyclin D1 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: Interesting and novel observations on the differences in expression of tumour markers studied are reported. Correlation between Ki-67 expression, PTTG nuclear expression and recurrence/regrowth of PAs, emphasizes the role that Ki-67 and PTTG expression have as markers of increased proliferation. c-MYC and PTTG nuclear expression levels were correlated providing evidence that PTTG induces c-MYC expression in PAs and we propose that c-MYC might principally have a role in early pituitary tumorigenesis. Evidence is shown that the anti-proliferative effect of somatostatin analogue treatment in vivo occurs through regulation of the cell cycle.

Comparison of multiple tau PET measures as biomarkers in aging and Alzheimer’s Disease

Maass A, Landau S, Baker SL, Horng A, Lockhart SN, et al. Neuroimage 2017; 157: 448–463

The recent development of tau-specific positron emission tomography (PET) tracers enables in vivo quantification of regional tau pathology, one of the key lesions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Tau PET imaging may become a useful biomarker for clinical diagnosis and tracking of disease progression but there is no consensus yet on how tau PET signal is best quantified. The goal of the current study was to evaluate multiple whole-brain and region-specific approaches to detect clinically relevant tau PET signal. Two independent cohorts of cognitively normal adults and amyloid-positive (Aβ+) patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD-dementia underwent [18F]AV-1451 PET. Methods for tau tracer quantification included: (i) in vivo Braak staging, (ii) regional uptake in Braak composite regions, (iii) several whole-brain measures of tracer uptake, (iv) regional uptake in AD-vulnerable voxels, and (v) uptake in a priori defined regions. Receiver operating curves characterized accuracy in distinguishing Aβ− controls from AD/MCI patients and yielded tau positivity cut-offs. Clinical relevance of tau PET measures was assessed by regressions against cognition and MR imaging measures. Key tracer uptake patterns were identified by a factor analysis and voxel-wise contrasts. Braak staging, global and region-specific tau measures yielded similar diagnostic accuracies, which differed between cohorts. While all tau measures were related to amyloid and global cognition, memory and hippocampal/entorhinal volume/thickness were associated with regional tracer retention in the medial temporal lobe. Key regions of tau accumulation included medial temporal and inferior/middle temporal regions, retrosplenial cortex, and banks of the superior temporal sulcus. Our data indicate that whole-brain tau PET measures might be adequate biomarkers to detect AD-related tau pathology. However, regional measures covering AD-vulnerable regions may increase sensitivity to early tau PET signal, atrophy and memory decline.

C-terminal fragments of the amyloid precursor protein in cerebrospinal fluid as potential biomarkers for Alzheimer disease

García-Ayllón MS, Lopez-Font I, Boix CP, Fortea J, Sánchez-Valle R, et al. Sci Rep. 2017; 7(1): 2477

This study assesses whether C-terminal fragments (CTF) of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) are present in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and their potential as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Immunoprecipitation and simultaneous assay by Western blotting using multiplex fluorescence imaging with specific antibodies against particular domains served to characterize CTFs of APP in human CSF. We demonstrate that APP-CTFs are detectable in human CSF, being the most abundant a 25-kDa fragment, probably resulting from proteolytic processing by η-secretase. The level of the 25-kDa APP-CTF was evaluated in three independent CSF sample sets of patients and controls. The CSF level of this 25-kDa CTF is higher in subjects with autosomal dominant AD linked to PSEN1 mutations, in demented Down syndrome individuals and in sporadic AD subjects compared to age-matched controls. Our data suggest that APP-CTF could be a potential diagnostic biomarker for AD.

Blood-based biomarkers for the identification of sports-related concussion

Anto-Ocrah M, Jones CMC, Diacovo D, Bazarian JJ. Neurol Clin 2017; 35(3): 473–485

Sports-related concussions (SRCs) are common among athletes in the United States. Most athletes who sustain an SRC recover within 7 to 10 days; however, many athletes who sustain the injury do not recover as expected and experience prolonged, persistent symptoms. In this document, the authors provide an overview of the empirical evidence related to the use of blood-based brain biomarkers in the athlete population for diagnosis of SRCs, prognosis of recovery and return to play guidelines, and indications of neurodegeneration. The authors also provide a summary of research challenges, gaps in the literature, and future directions for research.

Brain biomarkers and pre-injury cognition are associated with long-term cognitive outcome in children with traumatic brain injury

Wilkinson AA, Dennis M, Simic N, Taylor MJ, Morgan BR, et al. BMC Pediatr 2017; 17(1): 173

BACKGROUND: Children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are frequently at risk of long-term impairments of attention and executive functioning but these problems are difficult to predict. Although deficits have been reported to vary with injury severity, age at injury and sex, prognostication of outcome remains imperfect at a patient-specific level. The objective of this proof of principle study was to evaluate a variety of patient variables, along with six brain-specific and inflammatory serum protein biomarkers, as predictors of long-term cognitive outcome following pediatric TBI.
METHOD: Outcome was assessed in 23 patients via parent-rated questionnaires related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and executive functioning, using the Conners 3rd Edition Rating Scales (Conners-3) and Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) at a mean time since injury of 3.1 years. Partial least squares (PLS) analyses were performed to identify factors measured at the time of injury that were most closely associated with outcome on (1) the Conners-3 and (2) the Behavioural Regulation Index (BRI) and (3) Metacognition Index (MI) of the BRIEF.
RESULTS: Higher levels of neuron specific enolase (NSE) and lower levels of soluble neuron cell adhesion molecule (sNCAM) were associated with higher scores on the inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity and executive functioning scales of the Conners-3, as well as working memory and initiate scales of the MI from the BRIEF. Higher levels of NSE only were associated with higher scores on the inhibit scale of the BRI.
CONCLUSIONS: NSE and sNCAM show promise as reliable, early predictors of long-term attention-related and executive functioning problems following pediatric TBI.

Biomarkers of stroke recovery: Consensus-based core recommendations from the Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable

Boyd LA, Hayward KS, Ward NS, Stinear CM, Rosso C, et al. Int J Stroke 2017; 12(5): 480-493

The most difficult clinical questions in stroke rehabilitation are “What is this patient’s potential for recovery?” and “What is the best rehabilitation strategy for this person, given her/his clinical profile?” Without answers to these questions, clinicians struggle to make decisions regarding the content and focus of therapy, and researchers design studies that inadvertently mix participants who have a high likelihood of responding with those who do not. Developing and implementing biomarkers that distinguish patient subgroups will help address these issues and unravel the factors important to the recovery process. The goal of the present paper is to provide a consensus statement regarding the current state of the evidence for stroke recovery biomarkers. Biomarkers of motor, somatosensory, cognitive and language domains across the recovery timeline post-stroke are considered; with focus on brain structure and function, and exclusion of blood markers and genetics. We provide evidence for biomarkers that are considered ready to be included in clinical trials, as well as others that are promising but not ready and so represent a developmental priority. We conclude with an example that illustrates the utility of biomarkers in recovery and rehabilitation research, demonstrating how the inclusion of a biomarker may enhance future clinical trials. In this way, we propose a way forward for when and where we can include biomarkers to advance the efficacy of the practice of, and research into, rehabilitation and recovery after stroke.

Brain biomarkers of vulnerability and progression to psychosis

Cannon TD. Schizophr Bull 2016; 42(Suppl 1): S127–132

Identifying predictors and elucidating the fundamental mechanisms underlying onset of psychosis are critical for the development of targeted pre-emptive interventions. This article presents a selective review of findings on risk prediction algorithms and potential mechanisms of onset in youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis, focusing principally on recent findings of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS). Multivariate models incorporating risk factors from clinical, demographic, neurocognitive, and psychosocial assessments achieve high levels of predictive accuracy when applied to individuals who meet criteria for a prodromal risk syndrome. An individualized risk calculator is available to scale the risk for newly ascertained cases, which could aid in clinical decision making. At risk individuals who convert to psychosis show elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines, as well as disrupted resting state thalamo-cortical functional connectivity at baseline, compared with those who do not. Further, converters show a steeper rate of grey matter reduction, most prominent in prefrontal cortex, that in turn is predicted by higher levels of inflammatory markers at baseline. Microglia, resident immune cells in the brain, have recently been discovered to influence synaptic plasticity in health and impair plasticity in disease. Processes that modulate microglial activation may represent convergent mechanisms that influence brain dysconnectivity and risk for onset of psychosis and thus may be targetable in developing and testing preventive interventions.