© 2015 Gupta et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Introduction: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a growing socioeconomic problem worldwide. Early diagnosis and prevention of this devastating disease have become a research priority. Consequently, the identification of clinically significant and sensitive blood biomarkers for its early detection is very important. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) is a well-known and established genetic risk factor for late-onset AD; however, the impact of the protein level on AD risk is unclear. We assessed the utility of plasma ApoE protein as a potential biomarker of AD in the large, well-characterised Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Study of Ageing (AIBL) cohort. Methods: Total plasma ApoE levels were measured at 18-month follow-up using a commercial bead-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: the Luminex xMAP human apolipoprotein kit. ApoE levels were then analysed between clinical classifications (healthy controls, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD) and correlated with the data available from the AIBL cohort, including but not limited to APOE genotype and cerebral amyloid burden. Results: A significant decrease in ApoE levels was found in the AD group compared with the healthy controls. These results validate previously published ApoE protein levels at baseline obtained using different methodology. ApoE protein levels were also significantly affected, depending on APOE genotypes, with ε2/ε2 having the highest protein levels and ε4/ε4 having the lowest. Plasma ApoE levels were significantly negatively correlated with cerebral amyloid burden as measured by neuroimaging. Conclusions: ApoE is decreased in individuals with AD compared with healthy controls at 18-month follow-up, and this trend is consistent with our results published at baseline. The influence of APOE genotype and sex on the protein levels are also explored. It is clear that ApoE is a strong player in the aetiology of this disease at both the protein and genetic levels.