A potential biomarker for treatment stratification in psychosis: evaluation of an [18F] FDOPA PET imaging approach

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[18F]FDOPA PET imaging has shown dopaminergic function indexed as Kicer differs between antipsychotic treatment responders and non-responders. However, the theragnostic potential of this biomarker to identify non-responders has yet to be evaluated. In view of this, we aimed to evaluate this as a theragnostic test using linear and non-linear machine-learning (i.e., Bernoulli, support vector, random forest and Gaussian processes) analyses and to develop and evaluate a simplified approach, standardised uptake value ratio (SUVRc). Both [18F]FDOPA PET approaches had good test-rest reproducibility across striatal regions (Kicer ICC: 0.68-0.94, SUVRc ICC: 0.76-0.91). Both our linear and non-linear classification models showed good predictive power to distinguish responders from non-responders (receiver operating curve area under the curve for region-of-interest approach: Kicer = 0.80, SUVRc = 0.79; for voxel-wise approach using a linear support vector machine: 0.88) and similar sensitivity for identifying treatment non-responders with 100% specificity (Kicer: ~50%, SUVRc: 40-60%). Although the findings were replicated in two independent datasets, given the total sample size (n = 84) and single setting, they warrant testing in other samples and settings. Preliminary economic analysis of [18F]FDOPA PET to fast-track treatment-resistant patients with schizophrenia to clozapine indicated a potential healthcare cost saving of ~£3400 (equivalent to $4232 USD) per patient. These findings indicate [18F]FDOPA PET dopamine imaging has potential as biomarker to guide treatment choice.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2020


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