Familial aggregation in frontotemporal dementia.
Stevens M., van Duijn CM., Kamphorst W., de Knijff P., Heutink P., van Gool WA., Scheltens P., Ravid R., Oostra BA., Niermeijer MF., van Swieten JC.
OBJECTIVE AND BACKGROUND: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a common, non-Alzheimer's dementia. Its familial occurrence has been reported, but the frequency of positive family history is unknown. METHODS: We carried out a nationwide genetic-epidemiologic study of FTD in the Dutch population of 15 million people. The family history of dementia was analyzed in 74 FTD patients and 561 age- and gender-matched control subjects. RESULTS: We found one or more first-degree relatives with dementia before age 80 in 38% (28 of 74) of FTD patients, but only in 15% (84 of 561) of control subjects. Ten percent of FTD patients had two or more first-degree relatives with dementia compared with 0.9% of the control subjects. Seven percent of FTD patients showed the ApoE4E4 genotype versus 2.3% of the control subjects. The first-degree relatives of FTD had a risk of 22% for dementia before age 80 compared with 11% in relatives of control subjects. The age of onset of dementia in affected first-degree relatives of FTD patients (60.9+/-10.6 years) was significantly lower than among affected relatives of control subjects (72.3+/-8.5 years). The first-degree relatives of FTD patients were 3.5 times (95% CI, 2.4 to 5.2) more at risk for developing dementia before age 80 than relatives of control subjects. The hazard ratio in the subgroup with unknown linkage to chromosome 17 was 2.4 (95% CI, 1.5 to 3.7). CONCLUSION: This study documents the importance of genetic factors in a proportion of FTD patients with the age at onset of dementia in first-degree relatives being 11 years earlier than in the general population.