Predictors of cognitive decline and treatment response in a clinical trial on suspected prodromal Alzheimer's disease

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We determined the value of hippocampus (Hp) and basal forebrain (BF) volumes for predicting cognitive decline and treatment response in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled phase 4 trial at 28 academic centers (France) in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) receiving Donepezil 10 mg daily or placebo over 12 months, and 6 months open label follow-up. Outcome measures were the rates of global and domain specific cognitive decline as non-primary efficacy endpoint. The intention-to-treat (ITT) sample analyzed comprised 215 cases. Baseline Hp volume was a significant predictor of rates of change in global cognitive function in linear mixed effects models. This effect was independent of treatment. BF volume was not associated with rates of global or domain specific cognitive decline. Rates of delayed free recall decline were higher in MCI cases treated with donepezil compared to placebo. Only Hp, but not BF volume was a useful predictor of cognitive decline in suspected prodromal AD patients. Both Hp and BF volumes were poor predictors of treatment response, questioning previous approaches on predicting treatment response without placebo control.

Trial registration: Identifier NCT00403520.

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