Imaging based enrichment criteria using deep learning algorithms for efficient clinical trials in MCI

Ithapu VK, Singh V, Okonkwo OC, Chappell RJ, Dowling NM, Johnson SC, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 2015 Dec;11(12):1489-99. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


The mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be optimal for clinical trials to test potential treatments for preventing or delaying decline to dementia. However, MCI is heterogeneous in that not all cases progress to dementia within the time frame of a trial and some may not have underlying AD pathology. Identifying those MCIs who are most likely to decline during a trial and thus most likely to benefit from treatment will improve trial efficiency and power to detect treatment effects. To this end, using multimodal, imaging-derived, inclusion criteria may be especially beneficial. Here, we present a novel multimodal imaging marker that predicts future cognitive and neural decline from [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET), amyloid florbetapir PET, and structural magnetic resonance imaging, based on a new deep-learning algorithm (randomized denoising autoencoder marker, rDAm). Using ADNI2 MCI data, we show that using rDAm as a trial enrichment criterion reduces the required sample estimates by at least five times compared with the no-enrichment regime and leads to smaller trials with high statistical power, compared with existing methods.


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