Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35559. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035559. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Cost-effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging with a new contrast agent for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

Laboratoire Modélisation et Surveillance des risques sanitaires - Conservatoire national des Arts et Métiers - 75003, Paris, France.



Used as contrast agents for brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), markers for beta-amyloid deposits might allow early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of such a diagnostic test, MRI+CLP (contrastophore-linker-pharmacophore), should it become clinically available.


We compared the cost-effectiveness of MRI+CLP to that of standard diagnosis using currently available cognition tests and of standard MRI, and investigated the impact of a hypothetical treatment efficient in early AD. The primary analysis was based on the current French context for 70-year-old patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). In alternative "screen and treat" scenarios, we analyzed the consequences of systematic screenings of over-60 individuals (either population-wide or restricted to the ApoE4 genotype population). We used a Markov model of AD progression; model parameters, as well as incurred costs and quality-of-life weights in France were taken from the literature. We performed univariate and probabilistic multivariate sensitivity analyses. The base-case preferred strategy was the standard MRI diagnosis strategy. In the primary analysis however, MRI+CLP could become the preferred strategy under a wide array of scenarios involving lower cost and/or higher sensitivity or specificity. By contrast, in the "screen and treat" analyses, the probability of MRI+CLP becoming the preferred strategy remained lower than 5%.


It is thought that anti-beta-amyloid compounds might halt the development of dementia in early stage patients. This study suggests that, even should such treatments become available, systematically screening the over-60 population for AD would only become cost-effective with highly specific tests able to diagnose early stages of the disease. However, offering a new diagnostic test based on beta-amyloid markers to elderly patients with MCI might prove cost-effective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center