Quantitative validation of a visual rating scale for frontal atrophy: associations with clinical status, APOE e4, CSF biomarkers and cognition.
Ferreira D., Cavallin L., Granberg T., Lindberg O., Aguilar C., Mecocci P., Vellas B., Tsolaki M., Kłoszewska I., Soininen H., Lovestone S., Simmons A., Wahlund LO., Westman E., AddNeuroMed consortium and for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative* None.
OBJECTIVES: To validate a visual rating scale of frontal atrophy with quantitative imaging and study its association with clinical status, APOE ε4, CSF biomarkers, and cognition. METHODS: The AddNeuroMed and ADNI cohorts were combined giving a total of 329 healthy controls, 421 mild cognitive impairment patients, and 286 Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Thirty-four patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) were also included. Frontal atrophy was assessed with the frontal sub-scale of the global cortical atrophy scale (GCA-F) on T1-weighted images. Automated imaging markers of cortical volume, thickness, and surface area were evaluated. Manual tracing was also performed. RESULTS: The GCA-F scale reliably reflects frontal atrophy, with orbitofrontal, dorsolateral, and motor cortices being the regions contributing most to the GCA-F ratings. GCA-F primarily reflects reductions in cortical volume and thickness, although it was able to detect reductions in surface area too. The scale showed significant associations with clinical status and cognition. CONCLUSION: The GCA-F scale may have implications for clinical practice as supportive diagnostic tool for disorders demonstrating predominant frontal atrophy such as FTD and the executive presentation of AD. We believe that GCA-F is feasible for use in clinical routine for the radiological assessment of dementia and other disorders. KEY POINTS: • The GCA-F visual rating scale reliably reflects frontal brain atrophy. • Orbitofrontal, dorsolateral, and motor cortices are the most contributing regions. • GCA-F shows significant associations with clinical status and cognition. • GCA-F may be supportive diagnostic tool for disorders demonstrating predominant frontal atrophy. • GCA-F may be feasible for use in radiological routine.