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Candidate diagnostic biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents: a systematic review

Cortese, Samuele, Solmi, Marco, Michelini, Giorgia, Bellato, Alessio, Blanner, Christina, Canozzi, Andrea, Eudave-Ramos, Luis Umberto, Farhat, Luis, Hojlund, Mikkel, Kohler-Forsberg, Ole, Leffa, Douglas Teixeira, Rohde, Christopher Garne, de Pablo, Gonzalo Salazar, Vita, Giovanni, Wesselgoeft, Rikke, Martin, Joanna ORCID:, Baumeister, Sarah, Bozhilova, Natali, Carlisi, Christina, Leno, Virginia Carter, Floris, Dorothea, Holz, Nathaie, Kraaijenvanger, Eline, Sacu, Seda, Vainieri, Isabella, Ostuzzi, Giovanni, Barbui, Corrado and Correll, Christoph 2023. Candidate diagnostic biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents: a systematic review. World Psychiatry 22 (1) , pp. 129-149. 10.1002/wps.21037

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Neurodevelopmental disorders – including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, communication disorders, intellectual disability, motor disorders, specific learning disorders, and tic disorders – manifest themselves early in development. Valid, reliable and broadly usable biomarkers supporting a timely diagnosis of these disorders would be highly relevant from a clinical and public health standpoint. We conducted the first systematic review of studies on candidate diagnostic biomarkers for these disorders in children and adolescents. We searched Medline and Embase + Embase Classic with terms relating to biomarkers until April 6, 2022, and conducted additional targeted searches for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and neuroimaging or neurophysiological studies carried out by international consortia. We considered a candidate biomarker as promising if it was reported in at least two independent studies providing evidence of sensitivity and specificity of at least 80%. After screening 10,625 references, we retained 780 studies (374 biochemical, 203 neuroimaging, 133 neurophysiological and 65 neuropsychological studies, and five GWAS), including a total of approximately 120,000 cases and 176,000 controls. While the majority of the studies focused simply on associations, we could not find any biomarker for which there was evidence – from two or more studies from independent research groups, with results going into the same direction – of specificity and sensitivity of at least 80%. Other important metrics to assess the validity of a candidate biomarker, such as positive predictive value and negative predictive value, were infrequently reported. Limitations of the currently available studies include mostly small sample size, heterogeneous approaches and candidate biomarker targets, undue focus on single instead of joint biomarker signatures, and incomplete accounting for potential confounding factors. Future multivariable and multi-level approaches may be best suited to find valid candidate biomarkers, which will then need to be validated in external, independent samples and then, importantly, tested in terms of feasibility and cost-effectiveness, before they can be implemented in daily clinical practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 2051-5545
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 7 October 2022
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2024 02:44

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