BACKGROUND: Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) is heritable with 20 genes showing genome-wide association in the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP). To identify the biology underlying the disease, we extended these genetic data in a pathway analysis. METHODS: The ALIGATOR and GSEA algorithms were used in the IGAP data to identify associated functional pathways and correlated gene expression networks in human brain. RESULTS: ALIGATOR identified an excess of curated biological pathways showing enrichment of association. Enriched areas of biology included the immune response (P = 3.27 × 10(-12) after multiple testing correction for pathways), regulation of endocytosis (P = 1.31 × 10(-11)), cholesterol transport (P = 2.96 × 10(-9)), and proteasome-ubiquitin activity (P = 1.34 × 10(-6)). Correlated gene expression analysis identified four significant network modules, all related to the immune response (corrected P = .002-.05). CONCLUSIONS: The immune response, regulation of endocytosis, cholesterol transport, and protein ubiquitination represent prime targets for AD therapeutics.