Diagnostic value of surrogate CSF biomarkers for Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in the era of RT-QuIC

Samir Abu-Rumeileh, Simone Baiardi, Barbara Polischi, Angela Mammana, Alessia Franceschini, Alison Green, Sabina Capellari, Piero Parchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prion real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) is emerging as the most potent assay for the in vivo diagnosis of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD), but its full application, especially as a screening test, is limited by suboptimal substrate availability, reagent costs, and incomplete assay standardization. Therefore, the search for the most informative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrogate biomarker is still of primary importance. We compared the diagnostic accuracy of CSF protein 14-3-3, measured with both western blot (WB) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), total (t)-tau and neurofilament light chain protein (NfL) alone or in combination with RT-QuIC in 212 subjects with rapidly progressive dementia in which we reached a highly probable clinical diagnosis at follow-up or a definite neuropathological diagnosis. T-tau performed best as surrogate CSF biomarker for the diagnosis of CJD (91.3% sensitivity and 78.9% specificity). The 14-3-3 ELISA assay demonstrated a slightly higher diagnostic value compared to the WB analysis (76.9% vs. 72.2%), but both methods performed worse than the t-tau assay. NfL was the most sensitive biomarker for all sCJD subtypes (> 95%), including those with low values of t-tau or 14-3-3, but showed the lowest specificity (43.1%). When ELISA-based biomarkers were adopted as screening tests followed by RT-QuIC, t-tau correctly excluded a higher number of non-CJD cases compared to NfL and 14-3-3 ELISA. Our study showed that among the CSF surrogate biomarkers of potential application for the clinical diagnosis of CJD, t-tau performs best either alone or as screening test followed by RT-QuIC as a second-level confirmatory test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3136-3143
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


  • 14-3-3
  • Dementia
  • Neurofilament light chain
  • Prion disease
  • Total tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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