Cognitive composites for genetic frontotemporal dementia: GENFI-Cog

Katrina M. Moore, Jackie M. Poos, on behalf of the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), Jennifer Nicholas, Lucy L. Russell, Georgia Peakman, Rhian S. Convery, Lize C. Jiskoot, Emma van der Ende, Esther van den Berg, Janne M. Papma, Harro Seelaar, Yolande A.L. Pijnenburg, Fermin Moreno, Raquel Sanchez-Valle, Barbara Borroni, Robert Laforce, Mario Masellis, Carmela Tartaglia, Caroline GraffDaniela Galimberti, James B. Rowe, Elizabeth Finger, Matthis Synofzik, Rik Vandenberghe, Alexandre de Mendonça, Pietro Tiraboschi, Isabel Santana, Simon Ducharme, Chris Butler, Alexander Gerhard, Johannes Levin, Adrian Danek, Markus Otto, Isabel Le Ber, Florence Pasquier, John C. van Swieten, Jonathan D. Rohrer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Clinical endpoints for upcoming therapeutic trials in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are increasingly urgent. Cognitive composite scores are often used as endpoints but are lacking in genetic FTD. We aimed to create cognitive composite scores for genetic frontotemporal dementia (FTD) as well as recommendations for recruitment and duration in clinical trial design. Methods: A standardized neuropsychological test battery covering six cognitive domains was completed by 69 C9orf72, 41 GRN, and 28 MAPT mutation carriers with CDR® plus NACC-FTLD ≥ 0.5 and 275 controls. Logistic regression was used to identify the combination of tests that distinguished best between each mutation carrier group and controls. The composite scores were calculated from the weighted averages of test scores in the models based on the regression coefficients. Sample size estimates were calculated for individual cognitive tests and composites in a theoretical trial aimed at preventing progression from a prodromal stage (CDR® plus NACC-FTLD 0.5) to a fully symptomatic stage (CDR® plus NACC-FTLD ≥ 1). Time-to-event analysis was performed to determine how quickly mutation carriers progressed from CDR® plus NACC-FTLD = 0.5 to ≥ 1 (and therefore how long a trial would need to be). Results: The results from the logistic regression analyses resulted in different composite scores for each mutation carrier group (i.e. C9orf72, GRN, and MAPT). The estimated sample size to detect a treatment effect was lower for composite scores than for most individual tests. A Kaplan-Meier curve showed that after 3 years, ~ 50% of individuals had converted from CDR® plus NACC-FTLD 0.5 to ≥ 1, which means that the estimated effect size needs to be halved in sample size calculations as only half of the mutation carriers would be expected to progress from CDR® plus NACC FTLD 0.5 to ≥ 1 without treatment over that time period. Discussion: We created gene-specific cognitive composite scores for C9orf72, GRN, and MAPT mutation carriers, which resulted in substantially lower estimated sample sizes to detect a treatment effect than the individual cognitive tests. The GENFI-Cog composites have potential as cognitive endpoints for upcoming clinical trials. The results from this study provide recommendations for estimating sample size and trial duration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Dementia Research Centre is supported by Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Brain Research UK, and The Wolfson Foundation. This work was supported by the NIHR UCL/H Biomedical Research Centre, the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) Clinical Research Facility, and the UK Dementia Research Institute, which receives its funding from UK DRI Ltd., funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. JDR is supported by an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship (MR/M008525/1) and has received funding from the NIHR Rare Disease Translational Research Collaboration (BRC149/NS/MH). This work was also supported by the MRC UK GENFI grant (MR/M023664/1), the Bluefield Project, the JPND GENFI-PROX grant (2019-02248), the Dioraphte Foundation [grant numbers 09-02-00], the Association for Frontotemporal Dementias Research Grant 2009, The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) (grant HCMI 056-13-018), ZonMw Memorabel (Deltaplan Dementie, (project numbers 733 050 103 and 733 050 813), and JPND PreFrontAls Consortium (project number 733051042). JM Poos is supported by a fellowship award from Alzheimer Nederland (WE.15-2019.02). This work was conducted using the MRC Dementias Platform UK (MR/L023784/1 and MR/009076/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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