Application of predictive models in boosting power of Alzheimer's disease clinical trials: A post hoc analysis of phase 3 solanezumab trials

Ali Ezzati, Christos Davatzikos, David A. Wolk, Charles B. Hall, Christian Habeck, Richard B. Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The ideal participants for Alzheimer's disease (AD) clinical trials would show cognitive decline in the absence of treatment (i.e., placebo arm) and would also respond to the therapeutic intervention. Objective: To investigate if predictive models can be an effective tool for identifying and excluding people unlikely to show cognitive decline as an enrichment strategy in AD trials. Method: We used data from the placebo arms of two phase 3, double-blind trials, EXPEDITION and EXPEDITION2. Patients had 18 months of follow-up. Based on the longitudinal data from the placebo arm, we classified participants into two groups: one showed cognitive decline (any negative slope) and the other showed no cognitive decline (slope is zero or positive) on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale–Cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog). We used baseline data for EXPEDITION to train regression-based classifiers and machine learning classifiers to estimate probability of cognitive decline. Models were applied to EXPEDITION2 data to assess predicted performance in an independent sample. Features used in predictive models included baseline demographics, apolipoprotein E ε4 genotype, neuropsychological scores, functional scores, and volumetric magnetic resonance imaging. Result: In EXPEDITION, 46.3% of placebo-treated patients showed no cognitive decline and the proportion was similar in EXPEDITION2 (45.6%). Models had high sensitivity and modest specificity in both the training (EXPEDITION) and replication samples (EXPEDITION2) for detecting the stable group. Positive predictive value of models was higher than the base prevalence of cognitive decline, and negative predictive value of models were higher than the base rate of participants who had stable cognition. Conclusion: Excluding persons with AD unlikely to decline from the active and placebo arms of clinical trials using predictive models may boost the power of AD trials through selective inclusion of participants expected to decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12223
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • anti-amyloid monoclonal antibody
  • clinical trials
  • cognitive decline
  • machine learning
  • predictive analytics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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