Publications by authors named "Giacomo Lus"

42 Publications

Short and long term effects of Nabiximols on balance and walking assessed by 3D-gait analysis in people with Multiple Sclerosis and spasticity.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jan 30;51:102805. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical Sciences, 2nd Division of Neurology, Naples, Italy.

Background: Spasticity in people with Multiple Sclerosis (pwMS) is one of the most disabling symptoms on walking ability and balance. Among the systemic antispastic drugs, Nabiximols showed a good tolerability, safety profile and relevant efficacy. A few studies assessed long-term effects of this drug through clinical scales and instrumental tools, but no study investigated short-term effects. The aim of our study is to quantitatively evaluate the immediate effects of Nabiximols on walking and balance and their maintenance after 4 weeks in pwMS and spasticity.

Methods: pwMS were enrolled and randomized in 2 treatment groups: Sativex (SG) and control (CG) group. All patients were assessed at T0 (before the first Sativex puff), T1(after 45 minutes) and T2 (after 4 weeks of treatment) using clinical scales and 3d-Gait Analysis . Then, the patients treated with Sativex, were divided into 5 subgroups according to Numeric Rating Scale for spasticity (NRSs) and Berg Balance Score (BBS) response: NRSs responder[1] and non-[2]; BBS responders[3] and non-[4]; NRSs-BBS responders[5].

Results: 32 pwMS (22 SG, 10 CG) were recruited. Significant improvements were found between T0 and T1 in SG compared to CG in a few clinical and kinematic parameters. Larger significant differences were found for NRSs and BBS responders' groups versus CG. Eventually, no significant differences were found comparing the results between T1 and T2, suggesting the persistence of the improvements emerged at T1.

Conclusion: These results quantitatively demonstrated a short time effect of Nabiximols on balance and walking of pwMS, which is mantained after 4 weeks. Patients identified as responder by combination of NRSs and BBS showed the best efficacy. These findings may suggest how to early select the real responders in order to improve the adherence and cost-effectiveness of the therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2021.102805DOI Listing
January 2021

Switch from sequestering to anti-CD20 depleting treatment: disease activity outcomes during wash-out and in the first 6 months of ocrelizumab therapy.

Mult Scler 2021 Apr 15:13524585211005657. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Health Sciences, University of Genova, Genova, Italy.

Objectives: Switching between treatments is an opportunity for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to ameliorate disease control or safety. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of switching from fingolimod (FTY) or natalizumab (NTZ) to ocrelizumab (OCR) on disease activity.

Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 165 patients treated with OCR from 11 MS centres. We assessed the association of demographic and clinical characteristics on relapse rate (RR) and activity on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during wash-out and after 6 months of treatment with OCR through univariable and multivariable negative binomial regression models.

Results: We registered a total of 35 relapses during the wash-out period. Previous treatment with FTY, relapses in the previous year, and relapsing-remitting course were associated with higher RR. In the first 6 months of OCR, 12 patients had clinical or MRI disease activity. Higher Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and higher lymphocyte count at OCR start were associated with a reduced probability of relapse.

Discussion And Conclusion: This study confirms that withdrawal from sequestering agents as FTY increases the risk of relapses in the wash-out period. Nevertheless, starting OCR before achieving complete immune reconstitution could limit its effectiveness in the first 6 months probably because trapped lymphocytes escape the CD20-mediated depletion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/13524585211005657DOI Listing
April 2021

Exit Strategies in Natalizumab-Treated RRMS at High Risk of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy: a Multicentre Comparison Study.

Neurotherapeutics 2021 Apr 12. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Department "G.F. Ingrassia", MS Center, Organization University of Catania, Catania, Italy.

The main aim of the study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety profile of ocrelizumab (OCR), rituximab (RTX), and cladribine (CLA), employed as natalizumab (NTZ) exit strategies in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients at high-risk for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). This is a multicentre, retrospective, real-world study on consecutive RRMS patients from eleven tertiary Italian MS centres, who switched from NTZ to OCR, RTX, and CLA from January 1st, 2019, to December 31st, 2019. The primary study outcomes were the annualized relapse rate (ARR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) outcome. Treatment effects were estimated by the inverse probability treatment weighting (IPTW), based on propensity-score (PS) approach. Additional endpoint included confirmed disability progression (CDP) as measured by Expanded Disability Status Scale and adverse events (AEs). Patients satisfying predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria were 120; 64 switched to OCR, 36 to RTX, and 20 to CLA. Patients from the 3 groups did not show differences for baseline characteristics, also after post hoc analysis. The IPTW PS-adjusted models revealed that patients on OCR had a lower risk for ARR than patients on CLA (ExpB 0.485, CI 95% 0.264-0.893, p = 0.020). This result was confirmed also for 12-month MRI activity (ExpB 0.248 CI 95% 0.065-0.948, p = 0.042). No differences were found in other pairwise comparisons (OCR vs RTX and RTX vs CLA) for the investigated outcomes. AEs were similar among the 3 groups. Anti-CD20 drugs were revealed to be effective and safe options as NTZ exit strategies. All investigated DMTs showed a good safety profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-021-01037-2DOI Listing
April 2021

Clinical and Genetic Heterogeneity in a Large Family with Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum: MTHFR and SERPINE1 Variants as Possible Disease Modifiers in Developing Ischemic Stroke.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2021 Jun 1;30(6):105744. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Division of Neurology, Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Background And Objectives: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by pathogenic variants in the ABCC6 gene. The phenotypic spectrum of PXE is highly variable and includes principally three major features: skin lesions, eye and vascular manifestations, while brain manifestations are less common. To date about 400 different PXE associated variants in ABCC6 gene are described without any evident genotype-phenotype correlation. Herein, we report the clinical and molecular findings of a large PXE family with clinical and genetic intra-familial variability with significant cerebrovascular involvement.

Methods: The analysis of the ABCC6 gene was performed in the proband and her familiars for the definition of genetic background. Then, in order to determine why some affected individuals had more prominent brain involvement, we investigated classic thrombophilic gene variants.

Results: Molecular findings disclosed two different ABCC6 mutations, i.e., the recurrent p.(Arg518Gln) and the novel p.(Val1285Met) missense substitution responsible of a pseudo-dominant inheritance. The study of thrombophilic gene variants revealed the presence of 4G/4G SERPINE1 genotype in the proband and in her father, which both developed ischemic stroke. The proband carried also the C677T variant the MTHFR gene.

Conclusion: We argue, for the first time, that the 4G/4G SERPINE1 genotype could represent an additional risk factor in PXE for developing ischemic stroke, which adds up to the already known predisposing conditions. Therapeutic implications are discussed, we also advise that PXE patients should be adequately screened for cerebral vasculopathy, even more if familial history is suggestive of brain complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.105744DOI Listing
June 2021

Assessment of Multiple Sclerosis Disability Progression Using a Wearable Biosensor: A Pilot Study.

J Clin Med 2021 Mar 10;10(6). Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", 80138 Naples, Italy.

Background: The evaluation of walking activity of people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) is desirable. We evaluate the power of the correlation of motor parameters detected by the accelerometer in the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch with multiple sclerosis (MS) disability measures and patient reported outcomes (PROs).

Methods: We enrolled 25 relapsing remitting MS patients. We assessed disability with the expanded disability status scale, two-minute walking test (2MWT), timed 25-foot walk test (T25FWT), and nine-hole peg test. We collected PROs measuring fatigue, ambulatory ability, depression, quality of life, and bladder/bowel function. Participants were asked to wear the accelerometer for a period of 30 days.

Results: The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient showed a moderate negative correlation between the patient-determined disease steps (PDDS) score with the mean steps/day, a strong negative correlation between the PDDS score with the maximum number of daily steps (MNDS) and a moderate negative correlation between the fatigue severity scale score and MNDS. A moderate negative correlation between MNDS and the 2MWT and a moderate negative correlation between MNDS and the T25FW was found.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that motor parameters derived from the accelerometer could be a reliable measure of motor disability in pwMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10061160DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8001885PMC
March 2021

MRI activity and extended interval of Natalizumab dosing regimen: a multicentre Italian study.

J Neurol Sci 2021 May 6;424:117385. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

Clinical and Biological Sciences Department, Neurology Unit, University of Torino, San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital, Orbassano, Torino, Italy.

Background: To minimize the risk of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy and rebound in JCV-positive multiple sclerosis (MS) patients after 24 natalizumab doses, it has been proposed to extend the administrations interval. The objective is to evaluate the EID efficacy on MRI activity compared with the standard interval dosing (SID).

Methods: Observational, multicentre, retrospective cohort study, starting from the 24th natalizumab infusion to the loss of follow-up or 2 years after baseline. Three hundred and sixteen patients were enrolled. The median dose interval (MDI) following the 24th infusion was 5 weeks, with a bimodal distribution (modes at 4 and 6 weeks). Patients were grouped into 2 categories according to the mean number of weeks between doses: <5 weeks, SID; ≥5 weeks, EID.

Results: One hundred and eighty-seven patients were in the SID group (MDI = 4.5 weeks) and 129 in the EID group (MDI 6.1 weeks). The risk to develop active lesions on MRI is similar in SID and EID groups during the 6 and 12 months after the 24th natalizumab infusion, respectively 4.27% (95% CI:0.84-7.70) vs 4.71% (95% CI:0.16-9.25%) [p = 0.89] and 8.50% (95% CI:4.05-12.95) vs 6.55% (95% CI:2.11-11.00%) [p = 0.56]. The EID regimen does not appear to increase the occurrence of MRI activity during follow-up.

Conclusion: There is no evidence of the reduced efficacy of natalizumab in an EID setting regarding the MRI activity. This observation supports the need for a bigger randomized study to assess the need to change the standard of the natalizumab dosing schedule, to better manage JCV-positive patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2021.117385DOI Listing
May 2021

Correction to: Adiponectin in Cerebrospinal Fluid from Patients Affected by Multiple Sclerosis Is Correlated with the Progression and Severity of Disease.

Mol Neurobiol 2021 Feb 18. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali Biologiche Farmaceutiche, Università degli Studi della Campania, "Luigi Vanvitelli", Via G. Vivaldi 42, 81100, Caserta, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-021-02331-yDOI Listing
February 2021

Injectable Versus Oral First-Line Disease-Modifying Therapies: Results from the Italian MS Register.

Neurotherapeutics 2021 Feb 2. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Department "G.F. Ingrassia", MS center, University of Catania, Policlinico G. Rodolico, V. Santa Sofia 78, 95123, Catania, Italy.

The current study aims to compare injectable and oral first-line disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for time to first relapse, time to confirmed disability progression (CDP), and time to discontinuation using a cohort of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients, with data extracted from the Italian MS Register. This multicenter, observational, retrospectively acquired, and propensity-adjusted cohort study utilized RRMS-naïve patients from the Italian MS Register who started either injectable or oral first-line DMTs between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017, to evaluate the impact on disability outcomes in patients. Enrolled patients were divided into two groups, namely the injectable group (IG) and the oral group (OG). Of a cohort of 11,416 patients, 4602 were enrolled (3919 in the IG and 683 in the OG). The IG had a higher rate of women (67.3% vs 63.4%, p < 0.05) and a lower mean age (36.1 ± 10.9 vs 38.9 ± 11.8, p < 0.001). The event time to first relapse demonstrated a lower risk in the OG (HR = 0.58; CI 95% 0.48-0.72, p < 0.001). However, no differences were found between the two groups with respect to the risk of CDP (HR = 0.94; CI 95% 0.76-1.29, p = 0.941), while a lower risk of DMT was found in the OG (HR = 0.72; CI 95% 0.58-0.88, p = 0.002) for the event time to discontinuation. Real-world data from the Italian MS Register suggests that first-line oral DMTs are associated with a lower risk of experiencing a new relapse and of therapy discontinuation compared to injectable DMTs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-020-01001-6DOI Listing
February 2021

Adiponectin in Cerebrospinal Fluid from Patients Affected by Multiple Sclerosis Is Correlated with the Progression and Severity of Disease.

Mol Neurobiol 2021 Jan 23. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali Biologiche Farmaceutiche, Università degli Studi della Campania, "Luigi Vanvitelli", Via G. Vivaldi 42, 81100, Caserta, Italy.

Adiponectin exerts relevant actions in immunity and is modulated in several disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In this study, we characterized adiponectin expression and profiles in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from MS patients to investigate its potential relationship with the severity and progression of the disease. Total adiponectin in CSF was measured by ELISA in 66 unrelated CSF MS patients and compared with 24 age- and sex-matched controls. Adiponectin oligomer profiles were analysed by Western blotting and FPLC chromatography. Total CSF adiponectin was significantly increased in MS patients compared with controls (9.91 ng/mL vs 6.02 ng/mL) (p < 0.001). Interestingly, CSF adiponectin positively correlated with CSF IgG, and CSF/serum albumin directly correlated with CSF/serum adiponectin. Our data demonstrated that CSF adiponectin predicts a worse prognosis: patients with the progressive form of MS had higher levels compared with the relapsing remitting form; patients with higher EDSS at baseline and a higher MS severity score at 4.5-year follow-up had significantly elevated adiponectin levels with respect to patients with a less severe phenotype. Finally, the adiponectin oligomerization profile was altered in CSF from MS patients, with a significant increase in HMW and MMW. The correlation of CSF adiponectin with the severity and prognosis of MS disease confirmed the role of this adipokine in the inflammatory/immune processes of MS and suggested its use as a complementary tool to assess the severity, progression and prognosis of the disease. Further studies on larger MS cohorts are needed to clarify the contribution of adiponectin to the etiopathogenesis of MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-021-02287-zDOI Listing
January 2021

Preliminary Results of the FASM Study, an On-Going Italian Active Pharmacovigilance Project.

Pharmaceuticals (Basel) 2020 Dec 15;13(12). Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", 80138 Naples, Italy.

Background And Aim: Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) used in multiple sclerosis (MS) have distinct safety profiles. In this paper, we report preliminary results of an on-going pharmacovigilance project (the FASM study).

Results: Neurologists working at involved multiple sclerosis centers collected 272 Individual Case Safety Reports (ICSRs). Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) mainly occurred in adult patients and in a higher percentage of women compared to men. No difference was found in ADRs distribution by seriousness. The outcome was reported as favorable in 61% of ICSRs. Out of 272 ICSRs, almost 53% reported dimethyl fumarate, fingolimod and IFN beta 1a as suspected. These medications were commonly associated to the occurrence of ADRs related hematological, gastrointestinal, general, infective or cancer disorders. The median time to event (days) was 177 for dimethyl fumarate, 1058 for fingolimod and 413 for IFN beta 1a. The median time to event for the remaining suspected drugs was 226.

Conclusion: We believe that our results, together with those that will be presented at the end of the study, may bring new knowledge concerning the safety profile of DMTs and their proper use. This will provide the opportunity to draw new recommendations both for neurologists and patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ph13120466DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7765255PMC
December 2020

Transition to secondary progression in relapsing-onset multiple sclerosis: Definitions and risk factors.

Mult Scler 2021 03 19;27(3):430-438. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences and Sense Organs, University of Bari "Aldo Moro," Bari, Italy.

Background: No uniform criteria for a sensitive identification of the transition from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) to secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) are available.

Objective: To compare risk factors of SPMS using two definitions: one based on the neurologist judgment (ND) and an objective data-driven algorithm (DDA).

Methods: Relapsing-onset MS patients ( = 19,318) were extracted from the Italian MS Registry. Risk factors for SPMS and for reaching irreversible Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) 6.0, after SP transition, were estimated using multivariable Cox regression models.

Results: SPMS identified by the DDA ( = 2343, 12.1%) were older, more disabled and with a faster progression to severe disability ( < 0.0001), than those identified by the ND ( = 3868, 20.0%). In both groups, the most consistent risk factors ( < 0.05) for SPMS were a multifocal onset, an age at onset >40 years, higher baseline EDSS score and a higher number of relapses; the most consistent protective factor was the disease-modifying therapy (DMT) exposure. DMT exposure during SP did not impact the risk of reaching irreversible EDSS 6.0.

Conclusion: A DDA definition of SPMS identifies more aggressive progressive patients. DMT exposure reduces the risk of SPMS conversion, but it does not prevent the disability accumulation after the SP transition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520974366DOI Listing
March 2021

"Borderline" idiopathic CD4 T-cell lymphocytopenia presenting with atypical progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

J Neuroimmunol 2020 12 29;349:577420. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Department of Advanced Medical and Surgical Sciences, Second Division of Neurology - University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", via Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Idiopathic CD4+ lymphocytopenia (ICL) is a rare disorder characterized by low counts of CD4+ cells (<300/mm) in absence of other known causes of immunosuppression. A few cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) were reported in association with ICL with variable outcome. We describe the case of a 40 year-old man diagnosed with PML, which showed a monophasic course. Causes of primary and secondary immunodeficiency were ruled out, only a "borderline" ICL was found. This case highlights that a severe immunodepression could not be an absolute prerequisite in developing PML and also points the attention on current definition of ICL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroim.2020.577420DOI Listing
December 2020

The Rise of the GRN C157KfsX97 Mutation in Southern Italy: Going Back to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire.

J Alzheimers Dis 2020 ;78(1):387-394

Division of Neurology V - Neuropathology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Background: Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) designates a group of neurodegenerative diseases with remarkable clinical, pathological, and genetic heterogeneity. Mutations in progranulin gene (GRN) are among the most common causes of familial FTLD. The GRN C157KfsX97 mutation is the most frequent mutation occurring in Southern Italy and has been already described in a previous work.

Objective: In this study, we reported on additional cases carrying the same mutation and performed a genetic study on the whole cohort, aiming at demonstrating the existence of a founder effect and estimating the age of this mutation.

Methods/results: Based on the haplotype sharing analysis, a founder effect was highly probable, while the age of the mutation, estimated by means of DMLE+ software, resulted in a range between 52 and 82 generations, with the highest frequency at about 62 generations, 1,550 years ago.

Conclusion: This is the first study that reports the age estimation of the most recent common ancestor for the GRN C157KfsX97 mutation recurring in Southern Italy. Mutation dating in a geographically restricted population may be useful in order to plan genetic counseling and screening programs in the field of public health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-200924DOI Listing
January 2020

Disease-modifying drugs can reduce disability progression in relapsing multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2020 10;143(10):3013-3024

Ospedale Generale Regionale 'F. Miulli', Neurology Unit, Acquaviva delle Fonti (BA), Italy.

An ever-expanding number of disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis have become available in recent years, after demonstrating efficacy in clinical trials. In the real-world setting, however, disease-modifying drugs are prescribed in patient populations that differ from those included in pivotal studies, where extreme age patients are usually excluded or under-represented. In this multicentre, observational, retrospective Italian cohort study, we evaluated treatment exposure in three cohorts of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis defined by age at onset: paediatric-onset (≤18 years), adult-onset (18-49 years) and late-onset multiple sclerosis (≥50 years). We included patients with a relapsing-remitting phenotype, ≥5 years follow-up, ≥3 Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) evaluations and a first neurological evaluation within 3 years from the first demyelinating event. Multivariate Cox regression models (adjusted hazard ratio with 95% confidence intervals) were used to assess the risk of reaching a first 12-month confirmed disability worsening and the risk of reaching a sustained EDSS of 4.0. The effect of disease-modifying drugs was assessed as quartiles of time exposure. We found that disease-modifying drugs reduced the risk of 12-month confirmed disability worsening, with a progressive risk reduction in different quartiles of exposure in paediatric-onset and adult-onset patients [adjusted hazard ratios in non-exposed versus exposed >62% of the follow-up time: 8.0 (3.5-17.9) for paediatric-onset and 6.3 (4.9-8.0) for adult-onset, P < 0.0001] showing a trend in late-onset patients [adjusted hazard ratio = 1.9 (0.9-4.1), P = 0.07]. These results were confirmed for a sustained EDSS score of 4.0. We also found that relapses were a risk factor for 12-month confirmed disability worsening in all three cohorts, and female sex exerted a protective role in the late-onset cohort. This study provides evidence that sustained exposure to disease-modifying drugs decreases the risk of disability accumulation, seemingly in a dose-dependent manner. It confirms that the effectiveness of disease-modifying drugs is lower in late-onset patients, although still detectable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa251DOI Listing
October 2020

Nabiximols discontinuation rate in a large population of patients with multiple sclerosis: a 18-month multicentre study.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2020 09 13;91(9):914-920. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Department of Medical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardegna, Italy.

Introduction: Delta-δ-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (THC:CBD) oromucosal spray is used as an add-on therapy option for moderate to severe multiple sclerosis (MS) spasticity resistant to other medications. Aims of this study were to provide real-life data on long-term clinical outcomes in a large population of Italian patients treated with THC:CBD and to evaluate predictors of THC:CBD therapy continuation.

Materials And Methods: This prospective observational multicentre Italian study screened all patients with MS consecutively included in the Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco e-registry at the start of THC:CBD treatment (baseline), after 4 weeks (T1), 12±3 weeks (T2), 24±3 weeks (T3), 48±3 weeks (T4) and 72±3 weeks (T5) from baseline.

Results: A total of 1845 patients were recruited from 32 MS Italian centres. At T1, 1502 (81.4%) of patients reached a Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) improvement of ≥20%, with an NRS reduction of 26.9% at T1 and of 34.4% at T5. At T5, 725 patients (48.3% of 1502) discontinued treatment with highest discontinuation rate at T2 and T3. Daily number of puffs was generally stable through the observation period. The multivariate analysis showed that higher NRS scores at baseline (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.15 to 6.36, p<0.01) and higher differences of NRS between T0 and T1 (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.08 to 8.26, p<0.05) were associated with an increased probability to continue therapy after 18 months.

Discussion: THC:CBD effects were sustained for 18 months with a relatively stable number of puffs per day. About 50% of patients abandoned THC:CBD therapy for loss of efficacy or adverse events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2019-322480DOI Listing
September 2020

Dimethyl fumarate vs Teriflunomide: an Italian time-to-event data analysis.

J Neurol 2020 Oct 6;267(10):3008-3020. Epub 2020 Jun 6.

Department "G.F. Ingrassia", MS Center University of Catania, Policlinico G. Rodolico, V. Santa Sofia 78, 95123, Catania, Italy.

Background: The introduction of oral disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) changed algorithms of RRMS treatment.

Objectives: To compare the effectiveness of treatment with dimethyl fumarate (DMF) and teriflunomide (TRF) in a large multicentre Italian cohort of RRMS patients.

Materials And Methods: Patients with RRMS who received treatment with DMF and TRF between January 1st, 2012 and December 31st, 2018 from twelve MS centers were identified. The events investigated were "time-to-first-relapse", "time-to-Magnetic-Resonance-Imaging (MRI)-activity" and "time-to-disability-progression".

Results: 1445 patients were enrolled (1039 on DMF, 406 on TRF) and followed for a median of 34 months. Patients on TRF were older (43.5 ± 8.6 vs 38.8 ± 9.2 years), with a predominance of men and higher level of disability (p < 0.001 for all). Patients on DMF had a higher number of relapses and radiological activity (p < .05) at baseline. Time-varying Cox-model for the event "time-to-first relapse" revealed that no differences were found between the two groups in the first 38 months of treatment (HR = 0.73, CI = 0.52 to 1.03, p = 0.079). When the time-on-therapy exceeds 38 months patients on DMF had an approximately 0.3 times lower relapse hazard risk than those who took TRF (HR = 3.83, CI = 1.11 to 13.23, p = 0.033). Both DMTs controlled similarly MRI activity and disability progression.

Conclusions: Patients on DMF had higher relapse-free survival time than TRF group after the first 38 months on therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-09959-1DOI Listing
October 2020

Unraveling diagnostic uncertainty in transition phase from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Aug 24;43:102211. Epub 2020 May 24.

Department of Neurosciences, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Federico II University, Naples, Italy.

Background: Clinicians struggle to timely diagnose secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SP-MS), with a 'transition phase' period of diagnostic uncertainty. We aimed at defining clinical markers predicting evolution to SP-MS.

Methods: We reviewed 210 newly diagnosed MS patients experiencing at least one confirmed disability worsening (CDW). CDWs were classified as disability worsening either due to incomplete recovery following relapse (r-CDW), or independent of relapse activity (nr-CDW). Logistic regression and Cox regression models were used to evaluate variables at CDW associated with SP-MS diagnosis.

Results: On CDW, higher EDSS (OR: 2.73, p=0.002) and nr-CDW (OR: 2.63, p=0.03) were associated with conversion to SP-MS over the follow-up. In addition, the risk of SP-MS was higher in patients with EDSS>3.0 at CDW (HR: 2.26, p<0.001), and with time to second CDW <24 months (HR: 0.98, p<0.001), compared with patients that experienced a CDW but did not receive SP-MS diagnosis (AUC: 0.95, Sensitivity: 0.83, Specificity: 0.96).

Conclusion: At their first CDW, patients with higher EDSS, experiencing CDW without relapse and developing a further CDW within 2 years are at higher risk of SP-MS conversion. This provides proxies for conversion to SP-MS since first episode of CDW.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102211DOI Listing
August 2020

Associations between cognitive impairment at onset and disability accrual in young people with multiple sclerosis.

Sci Rep 2019 12 2;9(1):18074. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Department of Neurosciences, Reproductive and Odontostomatological Sciences, Federico II University, Naples, Italy.

Differently from the adult multiple sclerosis (MS) population, the predictive value of cognitive impairment in early-onset MS is still unknown. We aim to evaluate whether cognitive performances at disease onset predict disease progression in young people with MS. This is a retrospective study on early onset (<25 years) MS patients, who had a baseline cognitive evaluation at disease onset. Demographic and longitudinal clinical data were collected up to 7 years follow up. Cognitive abilities were assessed at baseline through the Brief Repeatable Battery. Associations between cognitive abilities and clinical outcomes (occurrence of a relapse, and 1-point EDSS progression) were evaluated with stepwise logistic and Cox regression models. We included 51 patients (26 females), with a mean age at MS onset of 17.2 ± 3.9 years, and an EDSS of 2.5 (1.0-6.0). Over the follow-up, twenty-five patients had at least one relapse, and 7 patients had 1-point EDSS progression. Relapse occurrence was associated with lower 10/36 SPART scores (HR = 0.92; p = 0.002) and higher WLG scores (HR = 1.05; p = 0.01). EDSS progression was associated with lower SDMT score (OR: 0.70; p = 0.04). Worse visual memory and attention/information processing were associated with relapses and with increased motor disability after up to 7-years follow-up. Therefor, specific cognitive subdomains might better predict clinical outcomes than the overall cognitive impairment in early-onset MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54153-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889418PMC
December 2019

Healthcare resource utilization and costs for multiple sclerosis management in the Campania region of Italy: Comparison between centre-based and local service healthcare delivery.

PLoS One 2019 19;14(9):e0222012. Epub 2019 Sep 19.

Department of Public Health, "Federico II" University, Naples, Italy.

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) requires multidisciplinary management. We evaluated differences in healthcare resource utilization and costs between Federico II and Vanvitelli MS Centres of Naples (Italy), representative of centralised (i.e., MS Care Unit) and local service-based models of multidisciplinary care, respectively.

Methods: We included MS patients continuously seen at the same local healthcare services and MS Centre (Federico II = 187; Vanvitelli = 90) from 2015 to 2017. Healthcare resources for MS treatment and management were collected and costs were calculated. Adherence was estimated as the rate of medication possession ratio (MPR) during 3-years of follow-up. Mixed-effect linear regression models were used to estimate differences in all outcomes between Federico II and Vanvitelli.

Results: Patients at Federico II had more consultations within the MS centre (p<0.001), blood tests (p<0.001), and psychological/cognitive evaluations (p = 0.040). Patients at Vanvitelli had more consultations at local services (p<0.001). Adherence was not-significantly lower at Vanvitelli (p = 0.060), compared with Federico II. Costs for MS treatment and management were 10.6% lower at Vanvitelli (12417.08±8448.32EUR) (95%CI = -19.0/-2.7%;p = 0.007), compared with Federico II (15318.57±10919.59EUR).

Discussion: Healthcare services were more complete (and expensive) at the Federico II centralised MS Care Unit, compared with the Vanvitelli local service-based organizational model. Future research should evaluate whether better integration between MS Centres and local services can lead to improved MS management and lower costs.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222012PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6752775PMC
March 2020

Retrospectively acquired cohort study to evaluate the long-term impact of two different treatment strategies on disability outcomes in patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RE.LO.DI.MS): data from the Italian MS Register.

J Neurol 2019 Dec 18;266(12):3098-3107. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Multiple Sclerosis Center, Hospital of Gallarate, Gallarate, Italy.

Background: The increase in disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) allows individualization of treatment in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS); however, the long-term impact of different treatment sequences is not well established. This is particularly relevant for MS patients who may need to postpone more aggressive DMD strategies.

Objective: To evaluate different therapeutic strategies and their long-term outcomes, measured as relapses and confirmed disability progression (CDP), in MS 'real-world' settings.

Methods: Multicentre, observational, retrospectively acquired cohort study evaluating the long-term impact of different treatment strategies on disability outcomes in patients with RMS in the Italian MS Register.

Results: We evaluated 1152 RMS-naïve patients after propensity-score adjustment. Patients included were receiving: interferon beta-1a (IFN-β1a) 44 µg switching to fingolimod (FTY; IFN-switchers; n = 97); FTY only (FTY-stayers; n = 157); IFN-β1a only (IFN-stayers; n = 849). CDP and relapses did not differ between FTY-stayers and IFN-switchers [HR (95% CI) 0.99 (0.48-2.04), p = 0.98 and 0.81 (0.42-1.58), p = 0.55, respectively]. However, IFN-stayers showed increased risk of relapses compared with FTY-stayers [HR (95% CI) 1.46 (1.00-2.12), p = 0.05].

Conclusion: The ideal treatment option for MS is becoming increasingly complex, with the need to balance benefit and risks. Our results suggest that starting with FTY affects the long-term disease outcome similarly to escalating from IFN-β1a to FTY.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-019-09531-6DOI Listing
December 2019

Extending the Interval of Natalizumab Dosing: Is Efficacy Preserved?

Neurotherapeutics 2020 01;17(1):200-207

Multiple Sclerosis Center, Spedali Civili of Brescia, Presidio di Montichiari, Brescia, Italy.

Extending the natalizumab interval after the 24th administration could reduce the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The objective is to evaluate the noninferiority of the efficacy of an extended interval dosing (EID) compared with the standard interval dosing (SID) of natalizumab. It is an observational, multicenter (14 Italian centers), retrospective cohort study, starting from the 24th natalizumab infusion to the loss of follow-up or 2 years after baseline. Patients were grouped in 2 categories according to the mean number of weeks between doses: < 5 weeks, SID; ≥ 5 weeks, EID. Three hundred and sixty patients were enrolled. Median dose interval (MDI) following 24th infusion was 4.7 weeks, with a bimodal distribution (modes at 4 and 6 weeks). Two hundred and sixteen patients were in the SID group (MDI = 4.3 weeks) and 144 in the EID group (MDI 6.2 weeks). Annualized relapse rate was 0.060 (95% CI = 0.033-0.087) in the SID group and 0.039 (95% CI = 0.017-0.063) in the EID group. The non-inferiority of EID versus SID was satisfied. In conclusion, there is no evidence of a reduced efficacy of natalizumab in an EID setting. This observation confirms previous results and together with the emerging evidence of a reduced risk of PML associated to an EID, supports the need of a randomized study to assess the need to change the standard of the natalizumab dosing schedule.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-019-00776-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7007494PMC
January 2020

Integrated Cognitive and Neuromotor Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis: A Pragmatic Study.

Front Behav Neurosci 2018 5;12:196. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Foundation Villa Camaldoli, Rehabilitation Clinic Alma Mater S.p.A., Naples, Italy.

Few studies examined the effects of combined motor and cognitive rehabilitation in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The present prospective, multicenter, observational study aimed to determine the efficacy of an integrated cognitive and neuromotor rehabilitation program versus a traditional neuromotor training on walking, balance, cognition and emotional functioning in MS patients. Sixty three MS patients were selected and assigned either to the Integrated Treatment Group (ITG; = 32), receiving neuropsychological treatment (performed by ERICA software and paper-pencil tasks) complemented by conventional neuromotor rehabilitation, or to the Motor Treatment Group ( = 31) receiving neuromotor rehabilitation only. The intervention included two 60-min sessions per week for 24 weeks. At baseline and at end of the training all patients underwent a wide-range neuropsychological, psychological/emotional, and motor assessment. At baseline the two groups did not differ for demographic, neuropsychological, psychological/emotional, and motor features significantly. After rehabilitation, only ITG group significantly ( for False Discovery Rate) improved on test tapping spatial memory, attention and cognitive flexibility, as well as on scales assessing depression and motor performance (balance and gait). A regression analysis showed that neuropsychological and motor improvement was not related to improvements in fatigue and depression. The present study demonstrated positive effects in emotional, motor, and cognitive aspects in MS patients who received an integrated cognitive and neuromotor training. Overall, results are supportive of interventions combining motor and cognitive training for MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00196DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6146227PMC
September 2018

No evidence of disease activity (NEDA-3) and disability improvement after alemtuzumab treatment for multiple sclerosis: a 36-month real-world study.

J Neurol 2018 Dec 26;265(12):2851-2860. Epub 2018 Sep 26.

Neurology Unit, Osp.e Santa Maria della Misericordia, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

In this retrospective, multicenter, real-world study we collected clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of all patients (n = 40) with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) treated with alemtuzumab according to a "free-of-charge" protocol available before the drug marketing approval in Italy. Almost all (39/40) started alemtuzumab after discontinuing multiple disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) because of either lack of response or safety concerns. We considered the proportion of alemtuzumab-treated patients who had no evidence of disease activity (NEDA-3) and disability improvement over a 36-month follow-up period. NEDA-3 was defined as absence of relapses, disability worsening, and MRI activity. Disability improvement was defined as a sustained reduction of ≥ 1-point in Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score. At follow-up, 18 (45%) patients achieved NEDA-3, 30 (75%) were relapse-free, 33 (82.5%) were EDSS worsening-free, and 25 (62.5%) were MRI activity-free. Eleven (27.5%) patients had a sustained disability improvement. We found no predictor for the NEDA-3 status, while the interaction of higher EDSS score by higher number of pre-alemtuzumab relapses was associated with a greater chance of disability improvement (odds ratio 1.10, p = 0.049). Our study provides real-world evidence that alemtuzumab can promote clinical and MRI disease remission, as well as disability improvement, in a significant proportion of patients with RRMS despite prior multiple DMT failures. The drug safety profile was consistent with data available from clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-018-9070-xDOI Listing
December 2018

Palatability and oral cavity tolerability of THC:CBD oromucosal spray and possible improvement measures in multiple sclerosis patients with resistant spasticity: a pilot study.

Neurodegener Dis Manag 2018 04 23;8(2):105-113. Epub 2018 Apr 23.

Multiple Sclerosis Center, II Division of Neurology, Department of Clinical & Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy.

Aim: Complaints about Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabidiol (CBD) oromucosal spray (Sativex; GW Pharma Ltd, Salisbury, UK) in the management of multiple sclerosis spasticity include unpleasant taste and oral mucosal anomalies. This pilot study assessed the use of sugar-free chewing gum and/or a refrigerated bottle of THC:CBD oromucosal spray to mitigate these effects.

Materials & Methods: Patients with multiple sclerosis spasticity (n = 52) at six sites in Italy who were receiving THC:CBD oromucosal spray and had associated oral mucosal effects were randomized into Group A (chewing gum; n = 15); Group B (cold bottle; n = 20); and Group C (cold bottle + chewing gum; n = 17).

Results: Taste perception in patients receiving chewing gum ± cold bottle intervention (Groups A and C combined) was significantly (p = 0.0001) improved from baseline to week 4 while maintaining spasticity control.

Conclusion: Patient comfort, satisfaction and treatment adherence may benefit from these interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/nmt-2017-0056DOI Listing
April 2018

Fingolimod reduces the clinical expression of active demyelinating lesions in MS.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2018 Feb 5;20:215-219. Epub 2018 Feb 5.

Multiple Sclerosis Clinical and Research Unit, Department of Systems Medicine, Tor Vergata University, Via Montpellier 1, 00133 Rome, Italy; IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo (INM) Neuromed, Neurology and Neurorehabilitation Units, Via Atinense 18, 86077 Pozzilli, (IS), Italy.

Background: Fingolimod is a modulator of Central and peripheral sphingosine pathways, which is currently approved for treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In animal models it reduces inflammation, but it is also able to potentiate glutamatergic transmission and synaptic plasticity. We aimed to explore whether Fingolimod is able to modify the clinical expression of new demyelinating lesions with respect to IFNβ-1a in relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) patients suboptimal responders to IFNβ-1a.

Methods: 103 patients with RRMS switching for inefficacy from IFNβ-1a to Fingolimod and treated for at least 12 months were included. Annualised Relapse Rate (ARR), EDSS and the number of new brain and spinal gadolinium enhancing (Gd +) and T2 lesions were retrospectively assessed in the whole group during each treatment period. The likelihood of co-occurrence of new Gd + lesions and clinical relapses during IFNβ-1a and Fingolimod treatment was analysed.

Results: The mean duration of treatment with IFNβ-1a and Fingolimod was 3.14 (SD 1.6) and 3.22 years (SD 1.1) respectively. Significant reduction of ARR (p < .001), total number of Gd + and T2 lesions (p < .001) was found switching from IFNβ-1a to Fingolimod. Gd + lesions occurring during treatment with Fingolimod were more likely to be asymptomatic compared with IFNβ-1a (88% vs 30.9%, p = < .025).

Conclusion: Fingolimod reduces clinical and radiological inflammation in MS. Additionally, it limits the clinical expression of new Gd + lesions, possibly reducing local inflammatory processes and improving brain network plasticity in patients with suboptimal response to IFNβ-1a.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2018.02.002DOI Listing
February 2018

Diffuse glioblastoma resembling acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis.

Quant Imaging Med Surg 2017 Oct;7(5):592-597

Unit of Neuroradiology, Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, "Federico II" University, Naples, Italy.

We report the case of a young man with sudden onset of diplopia after an upper respiratory tract infection. Based on the first radiological findings acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis, a variant of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, was suspected and treatment with high dose intravenous dexamethasone was started but it was stopped for intolerance. The patient clinically worsened, developing gait instability, ataxia and ophthalmoplegia; brain MRI performed 20 days later showed severe progression of the disease with subependymal dissemination. After brain biopsy of the right temporal lesion the histological diagnosis was glioblastoma. These findings suggest that MRI features of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis may dissimulate the diagnosis of diffuse glioma/glioblastoma. This case underscores the importance of considering diffuse glioma in the differential diagnosis of atypical signs and symptoms of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis and underlines the relevant role of integrating neuroradiologic findings with neuropathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/qims.2017.06.09DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5682395PMC
October 2017

Patient satisfaction with ExtaviPro™ 30G, a new auto-injector for administering interferon β-1b in multiple sclerosis: results from a real-world, observational EXCHANGE study.

BMC Neurol 2017 Aug 9;17(1):156. Epub 2017 Aug 9.

Novartis Pharma AG, Fabrikstrasse 12-3.03.12, Postfach, CH-4002, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) receiving long-term, subcutaneous interferon β-1b (IFN β-1b; Extavia®) often experience injection-site reactions and injection-site pain, which together with other side-effects (such as flu-like symptoms) result in suboptimal treatment compliance/adherence. The EXCHANGE study evaluated patient satisfaction with IFN β-1b treatment, administered using ExtaviPro™ 30G, a new auto-injector, in a real-world setting.

Methods: This 26-week, open-label, prospective, non-interventional, observational, multi-country multi-centre study enrolled patients with MS who had been treated with IFN β-1b or other disease-modifying therapies with a self-administered auto-injector for ≥3 months and who were planned to switch to IFN β-1b treatment administered using ExtaviPro™ 30G as part of routine clinical care. Patient-reported outcomes included overall patient satisfaction (primary outcome) and satisfaction associated with treatment effectiveness, convenience and side-effects, assessed using Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire for Medication (TSQM)-14. The changes in TSQM scores from baseline to Week 26 were reported. All data were analysed using SAS statistical software (version 9.4).

Results: Of the 336 patients enrolled, 324 were included in the analysis. At baseline, mean ± standard deviation (SD) age of patients was 41.8 ± 11.3 years and 68.2% were women. The mean ± SD of MS disease duration was 6.9 ± 6.6 years, and the majority of patients (94.1%) had relapsing-remitting MS. The mean ± SD of TSQM score for overall patient satisfaction at Week 26 was 75.6 ± 16.46 (baseline, 73.0 ± 17.14; p = 0.0342). The mean ± SD of TSQM subscale scores for patient satisfaction with effectiveness, side-effects and convenience were 75.0 ± 18.65 (baseline, 71.6 ± 19.45; p = 0.0356), 88.5 ± 18.98 (baseline, 82.7 ± 22.93; p = 0.0002) and 77.6 ± 16.72 (baseline, 71.1 ± 17.53; p < 0.0001), respectively.

Conclusion: The results from this real-world study suggest that administering IFN β-1b with the new ExtaviPro™ auto-injector significantly improves overall patient satisfaction, including satisfaction associated with effectiveness, side-effects and convenience in MS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12883-017-0928-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549369PMC
August 2017

Synergistic Interplay between Curcumin and Polyphenol-Rich Foods in the Mediterranean Diet: Therapeutic Prospects for Neurofibromatosis 1 Patients.

Nutrients 2017 Jul 21;9(7). Epub 2017 Jul 21.

Division of Neurology, Center for Rare Diseases & Inter University Center for Research in Neurosciences, Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurologic, Metabolic and Aging Sciences, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, via Sergio Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Neurofibromas are the hallmark lesions in Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1); these tumors are classified as cutaneous, subcutaneous and plexiform. In contrast to cutaneous and subcutaneous neurofibromas, plexiform neurofibromas can grow quickly and progress to malignancy. Curcumin, a turmeric-derived polyphenol, has been shown to interact with several molecular targets implicated in carcinogenesis. Here, we describe the impact of different dietary patterns, namely Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) compared to the Western diet (WesDiet), both with or without curcumin, on NF1 patients' health. After six months, patients adopting a traditional MedDiet enriched with 1200 mg curcumin per day (MedDietCurcumin) presented a significant reduction in the number and volume of cutaneous neurofibromas; these results were confirmed in subsequent evaluations. Notably, in one patient, a large cranial plexiform neurofibroma exhibited a reduction in volume (28%) confirmed by Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Conversely, neither unenriched MedDiet nor WesDiet enriched with curcumin exhibited any significant positive effect. We hypothesize that the combination of a polyphenol-rich Mediterranean diet and curcumin was responsible for the beneficial effect observed on NF1. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first experience with curcumin supplementation in NF1 patients. Our report suggests that an integrated nutritional approach may effectively aid in the management of NF1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu9070783DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537897PMC
July 2017

Prognostic indicators in pediatric clinically isolated syndrome.

Ann Neurol 2017 May;81(5):729-739

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neurosciences, and Sense Organs, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

Objective: To assess prognostic factors for a second clinical attack and a first disability-worsening event in pediatric clinically isolated syndrome (pCIS) suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Methods: A cohort of 770 pCIS patients was followed up for at least 10 years. Cox proportional hazard models and Recursive Partitioning and Amalgamation (RECPAM) tree-regression were used to analyze data.

Results: In pCIS, female sex and a multifocal onset were risk factors for a second clinical attack (hazard ratio [HR], 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.28, 1.06-1.55; 1.42, 1.10-1.84, respectively), whereas disease-modifying drug (DMD) exposure reduced this risk (HR, 95% CI = 0.75, 0.60-0.95). After pediatric onset MS (POMS) diagnosis, age at onset younger than 15 years and DMD exposure decreased the risk of a first Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)-worsening event (HR, 95% CI = 0.59, 0.42-0.83; 0.75, 0.71-0.80, respectively), whereas the occurrence of relapse increased this risk (HR, 95% CI = 5.08, 3.46-7.46). An exploratory RECPAM analysis highlighted a significantly higher incidence of a first EDSS-worsening event in patients with multifocal or isolated spinal cord or optic neuritis involvement at onset in comparison to those with an isolated supratentorial or brainstem syndrome. A Cox regression model including RECPAM classes confirmed DMD exposure as the most protective factor against EDSS-worsening events and relapses as the most important risk factor for attaining EDSS worsening.

Interpretation: This work represents a step forward in identifying predictors of unfavorable course in pCIS and POMS and supports a protective effect of early DMD treatment in preventing MS development and disability accumulation in this population. Ann Neurol 2017;81:729-739.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24938DOI Listing
May 2017

A cluster of progranulin C157KfsX97 mutations in Southern Italy: clinical characterization and genetic correlations.

Neurobiol Aging 2017 01 11;49:219.e5-219.e13. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Division of Neurology V-Neuropathology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a group of neurodegenerative diseases displaying high clinical, pathologic, and genetic heterogeneity. Several autosomal dominant progranulin (GRN) mutations have been reported, accounting for 5%-10% of FTLD cases worldwide. In this study, we described the clinical characteristics of 7 Italian patients, 5 with a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia behavioral variant and 2 of corticobasal syndrome (CBS), carrying the GRN deletion g.101349_101355delCTGCTGT, resulting in the C157KfsX97 null mutation, and hypothesized the existence of a founder effect by means of haplotype sharing analysis. We performed plasma progranulin dosage, GRN gene sequencing, and haplotype sharing study, analyzing 10 short tandem repeat markers, spanning a region of 11.08 Mb flanking GRN on chromosome 17q21. We observed shared alleles among 6 patients for 8 consecutive short tandem repeat markers spanning a 7.29 Mb region. Therefore, also with this particular mutation, the elevated clinical variability described among GRN-mutated FTLD cases is confirmed. Moreover, this is the first study reporting the likely existence of a founder effect for C157KfsX97 mutation in Southern Italy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.10.008DOI Listing
January 2017