Adjudicating Mild Cognitive Impairment Due to Alzheimer’s Disease as a Novel Endpoint Event in the TOMMORROW Prevention Clinical Trial

Lon S. Schneider, D. A. Bennett, M. R. Farlow, E. R. Peskind, M. A. Raskind, M. Sano, Y. Stern, S. Haneline, K. A. Welsh-Bohmer, J. O’Neil, R. Walter, S. Maresca, M. Culp, R. Alexander, A. M. Saunders, D. K. Burns, C. Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an essential outcome in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention trials and a compelling milestone for clinically meaningful change. Determining MCI, however, may be variable and subject to disagreement. Adjudication procedures may improve the reliability of these determinations. We report the performance of an adjudication committee for an AD prevention trial. Methods: The TOMMORROW prevention trial selected cognitively normal participants at increased genetic risk for AD and randomized them to low-dose pioglitazone or placebo treatment. When adjudication criteria were triggered, a participant’s clinical information was randomly assigned to a three-member panel of a six-member independent adjudication committee. Determination of whether or not a participant reached MCI due to AD or AD dementia proceeded through up to three review stages — independent review, collaborative review, and full committee review — requiring a unanimous decision and ratification by the chair. Results: Of 3494 participants randomized, the committee adjudicated on 648 cases from 386 participants, resulting in 96 primary endpoint events. Most participants had cases that were adjudicated once (n = 235, 60.9%); the rest had cases that were adjudicated multiple times. Cases were evenly distributed among the eight possible three-member panels. Most adjudicated cases (485/648, 74.8%) were decided within the independent review (stage 1); 14.0% required broader collaborative review (stage 2), and 11.1% needed full committee discussion (stage 3). The primary endpoint event decision rate was 39/485 (8.0%) for stage 1, 29/91 (31.9%) for stage 2, and 28/72 (38.9%) for stage 3. Agreement between the primary event outcomes supported by investigators’ clinical diagnoses and the decisions of the adjudication committee increased from 50% to approximately 93% (after around 100 cases) before settling at 80–90% for the remainder of the study. Conclusions: The adjudication process was designed to provide independent, consistent determinations of the trial endpoints. These outcomes demonstrated the extent of uncertainty among trial investigators and agreement between adjudicators when the transition to MCI due to AD was prospectively assessed. These methods may inform clinical endpoint determination in future AD secondary prevention studies. Reliable, accurate assessment of clinical events is critical for prevention trials and may mean the difference between success and failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-634
Number of pages10
JournalThe journal of prevention of Alzheimer's disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • adjudication
  • delay of onset of MCI due to AD
  • methodology
  • pioglitazone
  • randomized clinical trial


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