INTRODUCTION: A classification framework for posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) is proposed to improve the uniformity of definition of the syndrome in a variety of research settings.
METHODS: Consensus statements about PCA were developed through a detailed literature review, the formation of an international multidisciplinary working party which convened on four occasions, and a Web-based quantitative survey regarding symptom frequency and the conceptualization of PCA.
RESULTS: A three-level classification framework for PCA is described comprising both syndrome- and disease-level descriptions. Classification level 1 (PCA) defines the core clinical, cognitive, and neuroimaging features and exclusion criteria of the clinico-radiological syndrome. Classification level 2 (PCA-pure, PCA-plus) establishes whether, in addition to the core PCA syndrome, the core features of any other neurodegenerative syndromes are present. Classification level 3 (PCA attributable to AD [PCA-AD], Lewy body disease [PCA-LBD], corticobasal degeneration [PCA-CBD], prion disease [PCA-prion]) provides a more formal determination of the underlying cause of the PCA syndrome, based on available pathophysiological biomarker evidence. The issue of additional syndrome-level descriptors is discussed in relation to the challenges of defining stages of syndrome severity and characterizing phenotypic heterogeneity within the PCA spectrum.
DISCUSSION: There was strong agreement regarding the definition of the core clinico-radiological syndrome, meaning that the current consensus statement should be regarded as a refinement, development, and extension of previous single-center PCA criteria rather than any wholesale alteration or redescription of the syndrome. The framework and terminology may facilitate the interpretation of research data across studies, be applicable across a broad range of research scenarios (e.g., behavioral interventions, pharmacological trials), and provide a foundation for future collaborative work.
- posterior cortical atrophy
- Alzheimer’s disease
- clinico-radiological syndrome