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PML risk stratification using anti-JCV antibody index and L-selectin

Natalizumab treatment is associated with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) development. Treatment duration, prior immunosuppressant use, and JCV serostatus are currently used for risk stratification, but PML incidence stays high. Anti-JCV antibody index and L-selectin (CD62L) have been proposed as additional risk stratification parameters.


This study aimed at verifying and integrating both parameters into one algorithm for risk stratification.


Multicentric, international cohorts of natalizumab-treated MS patients were assessed for JCV index (1921 control patients and nine pre-PML patients) and CD62L (1410 control patients and 17 pre-PML patients).


CD62L values correlate with JCV serostatus, as well as JCV index values. Low CD62L in natalizumab-treated patients was confirmed and validated as a biomarker for PML risk with the risk factor “CD62L low” increasing a patient’s relative risk 55-fold (p < 0.0001). Validation efforts established 86% sensitivity/91% specificity for CD62L and 100% sensitivity/59% specificity for JCV index as predictors of PML. Using both parameters identified 1.9% of natalizumab-treated patients in the reference center as the risk group.


Both JCV index and CD62L have merit for risk stratification and share a potential biological relationship with implications for general PML etiology. A risk algorithm incorporating both biomarkers could strongly reduce PML incidence.

via Multiple Sclerosis Journal

Optimizing therapy early in multiple sclerosis: An evidence-based view


• MS treatment may not adequately control disease activity.
• Optimizing treatment in MS earlier may prevent accumulation of irreversible damage.
• Assessing all key outcome measures may provide a more accurate view of MS.
• Various factors need to be considered when making treatment decisions in MS.


Therapies that target the underlying pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS), including focal and diffuse damage, may improve long-term disease control. Focal damage (inflammatory lesions) manifests clinically mainly as relapses, whereas diffuse damage (neurodegeneration and brain volume loss) has been more closely associated with disability progression and cognitive decline. Given that first-line therapies such as beta-interferon and glatiramer acetate, which are primarily directed against inflammation, might fail to adequately control disease activity in some patients, it has been recommended to switch these patients early to a therapy of higher efficacy, possibly targeting both components of MS pathology more rigorously. This review provides an overview of the efficacy of EU-approved disease-modifying therapies on conventional MS outcome measures (relapses, disability progression and paraclinical magnetic resonance imaging endpoints) in addition to brain volume loss, a measure of diffuse damage in the brain. In addition, the evidence supporting early treatment optimization in patients with high disease activity despite first-line therapy will be reviewed and an algorithm for optimal disease control will be presented.

via Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Relationship between relapses and disability in MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a recurrent inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, which ultimately causes substantial disability in many patients. A key clinical feature of this disease is the occurrence of relapses, consisting of episodes of neurological dysfunction followed by periods of remission. This review considers in detail the importance of the occurrence of relapses to the ultimate course of MS and the impact of relapse-treatment (both acutely and prophylactically) on the long-term outcome for individuals. The ultimate goal of therapy in MS is the reduction of long-term disability. Clinical trials in MS, however, typically only extend for a very short time period compared to the time it takes for disability to evolve. Consequently, short-term outcome measures that are associated with, and predict, future disability need to be identified. In this regard, not only are relapses a characteristic feature of MS, they have also been proven to be associated with the occurrence of long-term disability. Moreover, treatments that reduce the number and severity of these attacks improve the long-term prognosis.

via Relapses in multiple sclerosis: Relationship to disability.

Defining high, medium and low impact prognostic factors for developing multiple sclerosis

Natural history studies have identified factors that predict evolution to multiple sclerosis or risk of disability accumulation over time. Although these studies are based on large multicentre cohorts with long follow-ups, they have limitations such as lack of standardized protocols, a retrospective data collection or lack of a systematic magnetic resonance imaging acquisition and analysis protocol, often resulting in failure to take magnetic resonance and oligoclonal bands into account as joint covariates in the prediction models. To overcome some of these limitations, the aim of our study was to identify and stratify baseline demographic, clinical, radiological and biological characteristics that might predict multiple sclerosis development and disability accumulation using a multivariate approach based on a large prospective cohort of patients with clinically isolated syndromes. From 1995 to 2013, 1058 patients with clinically isolated syndromes were included. We evaluated the influence of baseline prognostic factors on the risk for developing clinically definite multiple sclerosis, McDonald multiple sclerosis, and disability accumulation (Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 3.0) based on univariate (hazard ratio with 95% confidence intervals) and multivariate (adjusted hazard ratio with 95% confidence intervals) Cox regression models. We ultimately included 1015 patients followed for a mean of 81 (standard deviation = 57) months. Female/male ratio was 2.1. Females exhibited a similar risk of conversion to multiple sclerosis and of disability accumulation compared to males. Each younger decade at onset was associated with a greater risk of conversion to multiple sclerosis and with a protective effect on disability. Patients with optic neuritis had a lower risk of clinically definite multiple sclerosis [hazard ratio 0.6 (0.5–0.8)] and disability progression [hazard ratio 0.5 (0.3–0.8)]; however, this protective effect remained marginal only for disability [adjusted hazard ratio 0.6 (0.4–1.0)] in adjusted models. The presence of oligoclonal bands increased the risk of clinically definite multiple sclerosis [adjusted hazard ratio 1.3 (1.0–1.8)] and of disability [adjusted hazard ratio 2.0 (1.2–3.6)] independently of other factors. The presence of 10 or more brain lesions on magnetic resonance increased the risk of clinically definite multiple sclerosis [adjusted hazard ratio 11.3 (6.7–19.3)] and disability [adjusted hazard ratio 2.9 (1.4–6.0)]. Disease-modifying treatment before the second attack reduced the risk of McDonald multiple sclerosis [adjusted hazard ratio 0.6 (0.4–0.9)] and disability accumulation [adjusted hazard ratio 0.5 (0.3–0.9)]. We conclude that the demographic and topographic characteristics are low-impact prognostic factors, the presence of oligoclonal bands is a medium-impact prognostic factor, and the number of lesions on brain magnetic resonance is a high-impact prognostic factor.

via Brain.

Changing EDSS Progression in Placebo Cohorts in Relapsing MS: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression


Recent systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) revealed a decrease in placebo annualized relapse rates (ARR) over the past two decades. Furthermore, regression to the mean effects were observed in ARR and MRI lesion counts. It is unclear whether disease progression measured by the expanded disability status scale (EDSS) exhibits similar features.


A systematic review of RCTs in RMS was conducted extracting data on EDSS and baseline characteristics. The logarithmic odds of disease progression were modelled to investigate time trends. Random-effects models were used to account for between-study variability; all investigated models included trial duration as a predictor to correct for unequal study durations. Meta-regressions were conducted to assess the prognostic value of a number of study-level baseline variables.


The systematic literature search identified 39 studies, including a total of 19,714 patients. The proportion of patients in placebo controls experiencing a disease progression decreased over the years (p<0.001). Meta-regression identified associated covariates including the size of the study and its duration that in part explained the time trend. Progression probabilities tended to be lower in the second year of a study compared to the first year with a reduction of 28% in progression odds from year 1 to year 2 (p = 0.017).


EDSS disease progression exhibits similar behaviour over time as the ARR and point to changes in trial characteristics over the years. This needs to be considered in comparisons between historical and recent trials.


Don’t forget to take a look at our iOS app to improve reliability of EDSS rating 

Improvement of quality measures in multiple sclerosis

All clinicians believe they provide quality care, yet most clinicians do not directly measure quality parameters in their practice to provide verifiable health care outcomes.1 Quality measures related to a chronic disease provide reportable and repeatable measures that can either document performance of quality care or identify gaps in care for future action/improvement. Disease-specific quality measures in neurology provide a framework that can assist clinicians in practice measurement and modification; these have the potential to benefit both subspecialist and generalist alike. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common, chronic, and ultimately disabling disease with multiple potential clinical intervention points during its course. It is therefore appropriate to have quality measures specific for this condition that span the course of the disease. via Neurology: Mobile Edition.

Don’t forget to take a look at our iOS app to improve reliability of EDSS rating