Parameter space and potential for biomarker development in 25 years of fMRI drug cue reactivity a systematic review: a systematic review

Addiction Cue-Reactivity Initiative (ACRI) Network, Lara A. Ray, Rajita Sinha, Michael N. Smolka, Ghazaleh Soleimani, Rainer Spanagel, Vaughn R. Steele, Susan F. Tapert, Sabine Vollstädt-Klein, Reagan R. Wetherill, Katie Witkiewitz, Kai Yuan, Xiaochu Zhang, Antonio Verdejo-Garcia, Marc N. Potenza, Amy C. Janes, Hedy Kober, Anna Zilverstand, Hamed Ekhtiari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Importance In the last 25 years, functional magnetic resonance imaging drug cue reactivity (FDCR) studies have characterized some core aspects in the neurobiology of drug addiction. However, no FDCR-derived biomarkers have been approved for treatment development or clinical adoption. Traversing this translational gap requires a systematic assessment of the FDCR literature evidence, its heterogeneity, and an evaluation of possible clinical uses of FDCR-derived biomarkers.

Objective To summarize the state of the field of FDCR, assess their potential for biomarker development, and outline a clear process for biomarker qualification to guide future research and validation efforts.

Evidence Review The PubMed and Medline databases were searched for every original FDCR investigation published from database inception until December 2022. Collected data covered study design, participant characteristics, FDCR task design, and whether each study provided evidence that might potentially help develop susceptibility, diagnostic, response, prognostic, predictive, or severity biomarkers for 1 or more addictive disorders.

Findings There were 415 FDCR studies published between 1998 and 2022. Most focused on nicotine (122 [29.6%]), alcohol (120 [29.2%]), or cocaine (46 [11.1%]), and most used visual cues (354 [85.3%]). Together, these studies recruited 19 311 participants, including 13 812 individuals with past or current substance use disorders. Most studies could potentially support biomarker development, including diagnostic (143 [32.7%]), treatment response (141 [32.3%]), severity (84 [19.2%]), prognostic (30 [6.9%]), predictive (25 [5.7%]), monitoring (12 [2.7%]), and susceptibility (2 [0.5%]) biomarkers. A total of 155 interventional studies used FDCR, mostly to investigate pharmacological (67 [43.2%]) or cognitive/behavioral (51 [32.9%]) interventions; 141 studies used FDCR as a response measure, of which 125 (88.7%) reported significant interventional FDCR alterations; and 25 studies used FDCR as an intervention outcome predictor, with 24 (96%) finding significant associations between FDCR markers and treatment outcomes.

Conclusions and Relevance Based on this systematic review and the proposed biomarker development framework, there is a pathway for the development and regulatory qualification of FDCR-based biomarkers of addiction and recovery. Further validation could support the use of FDCR-derived measures, potentially accelerating treatment development and improving diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive clinical judgments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJAMA Psychiatry
Early online date7 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Feb 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Parameter space and potential for biomarker development in 25 years of fMRI drug cue reactivity a systematic review: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this