New PET markers for the diagnosis of dementia

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Purpose of review

To present the new PET markers that could become in the coming years, relevant to advanced clinical approaches to dementia diagnosis, drug trials, and treatment strategies and discuss their advantages and limitations.

Recent findings

The most advanced new PET tracers are the markers of the amyloid plaques, the τ compounds and the tracers of the translocator protein as markers of neuroinflammation. The main advantages but also the weaknesses of each of these markers are discussed. The main pitfall remains the heterogeneity of the available results that cast doubt to a rapid introduction of these new ligands in clinical practice.


With the advent of biomarkers in clinical management and findings of molecular neuroimaging studies in the evaluation of patients with suspected dementia, the impact of functional neuroimaging has increased considerably these last years and has been integrated into many clinical guidelines in the field of dementia. In addition to conventional single PET brain perfusion and dopaminergic neurotransmission, 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET is used in advanced diagnosis procedures. Furthermore, new tracers are being developed to quantify key neuropathological features in the brain tissue as highly specific diagnosis is crucial to comply with the global medical and public health objectives in this domain. A strategic road map for further developments, adapted from the approach to cancer biomarkers, should be proposed so as to optimize the rationale of the PET-based molecular diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.

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