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Diagnosis Across the Spectrum of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Corticobasal Syndrome

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Jabbari, Edwin 
Chelban, Viorica 
Jones, P Simon 
Lamb, Ruth 


IMPORTANCE: Patients with atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS), including progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal syndrome (CBS) and multiple system atrophy (MSA), may be difficult to distinguish in early stages and are often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease (PD). The diagnostic criteria for PSP have been updated to encompass a range of clinical subtypes, but have not been prospectively studied. OBJECTIVE: To define the distinguishing features of PSP and CBS, and to assess their usefulness in facilitating early diagnosis and separation from PD. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Cohort study which recruited APS and PD patients from movement disorder clinics across the UK from September 2015 to December 2018, and will follow up patients over 5 years. APS patients were stratified into PSP-Richardson syndrome, PSP-subcortical (including PSP-parkinsonism and PSP-progressive gait freezing cases), PSP-cortical (including PSP-frontal and PSP/CBS overlap cases), MSA-parkinsonism, MSA-cerebellar, CBS-Alzheimer’s and CBS-non-Alzheimer’s groups. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Baseline group comparisons were conducted using: 1) Clinical trajectory; 2) Cognitive screening scales; 3) Serum neurofilament light chain (NF-L); 4) TRIM11, ApoE and MAPT genotypes; 5) Volumetric MRI. RESULTS: 222 APS cases (101 PSP, 55 MSA, 40 CBS and 26 indeterminate) were recruited (58% male; mean age at recruitment, 68.3 years). Age-matched controls (n=76) and PD cases (n=1967) were also included. Concordance between the ante-mortem clinical diagnosis and pathological diagnosis was achieved in 12/13 (92%) of PSP and CBS cases coming to post-mortem. Applying the MDS PSP diagnostic criteria almost doubled the number of patients diagnosed with PSP. 49/101 (49%) of reclassified PSP patients did not have classical PSP-Richardson syndrome. PSP-subcortical patients had a longer diagnostic latency and a more benign clinical trajectory than PSP-Richardson syndrome and PSP-cortical (p<0.05). PSP-subcortical was distinguished from PSP-cortical and PSP-Richardson syndrome by cortical volumetric MRI measures (AUC 0.84-0.89), cognitive profile (AUC 0.80-0.83), serum NF-L (AUC 0.75-0.83) and TRIM11 rs564309 genotype. Midbrain atrophy was a common feature of all PSP subtypes. 8/17 (47%) of CBS patients with CSF analysis were identified as having CBS-Alzheimer’s. CBS-Alzheimer’s patients had a longer diagnostic latency, relatively benign clinical trajectory, greater cognitive impairment and higher APOE-ε4 allele frequency than CBS-non-Alzheimer’s (p<0.05, AUC 0.80-0.87). Serum NF-L levels distinguished PD from PSP and CBS (p<0.05, AUC 0.80). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Clinical, therapeutic and epidemiological studies focusing on PSP-Richardson syndrome are likely to miss a large number of patients with underlying PSP-tau pathology. CSF analysis defines a distinct CBS-Alzheimer’s subgroup. PSP and CBS subtypes have distinct characteristics that may enhance their early diagnosis.



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American Medical Association