Introduction: Positron emission tomography targeting tau (tau-PET) is a promising diagnostic tool for the identification of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Currently available data rely on quantitative measures, and a visual interpretation method, critical for clinical translation, is needed.
Methods: We developed a visual interpretation method for 18F-flortaucipir tau-PET and tested it on 274 individuals (cognitively normal controls, patients with mild cognitive impairment [MCI], AD dementia, and non-AD diagnoses). Two readers interpreted 18F-flortaucipir PET using two complementary indices: a global visual score and a visual distribution pattern.
Results: Global visual scores were reliable, correlated with global cortical 18F-flortaucipir standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR) and were associated with clinical diagnosis and amyloid status. The AD-like 18F-flortaucipir pattern had good sensitivity and specificity to identify amyloid-positive patients with AD dementia or MCI.
Discussion: This 18F-flortaucipir visual rating scheme is associated with SUVR quantification, clinical diagnosis, and amyloid status, and constitutes a promising approach to tau measurement in clinical settings.