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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Alzheimer's Biomarkers: Overview of existing and future biomarkers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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LabCorp’s APOE Alzheimer’s Risk Test:

This test can be performed on whole blood or buccal swabs. It identifies and measures the presence of the APOE isoforms e2, e3 and e4. The test uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with restriction enzyme digestion and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to identify and quantify the various APOE isoforms.
The test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by LabCorp. It is not an FDA-approved test. LabCorp clearly stresses the test’s limitations which include the following:
  • The APOE test is not a diagnostic test but the presence of the e4 isoform does increase the risk of late onset AD, however, many patients with the e4 isoform do not develop AD and in patients with late-onset AD, 30-50% are negative for the isoform.
  • APOE e4 is neither necessary nor sufficient for the development of Alzheimer's disease. Approximately 30% to 50% of patients with late-onset Alzheimer's disease do not have an APOE e4 isoform.
  • The presence of the APOE e4 isoform is common in approximately 25% of the general population. Among patients with late-onset AD, 50% to 70% are positive for APOE e4.
  • The development of late-onset Alzheimer's disease is influenced by many factors other than APOE e4 isoform, including age, gender, family history, level of education, and history of head trauma
  • Genetic counseling is recommended as a follow-up to test results and interpretation.
Test results are reported as the genotyping for the various APOE isoforms and a risk stratification is produced based on the levels of the various isoforms. The presence of more of the APOE e4 isoforms suggest an increased risk of late onset AD whereas the presence of more of the APOE e2 isoforms suggest a lower risk of late onset AD.