Publications by authors named "Orla Gray"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effect of Disease-Modifying Therapy on Disability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Over 15 Years.

Neurology 2021 02 28;96(5):e783-e797. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

From CORe (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; MS Centre (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia; Karolinska Institute (T.S.), Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience (T.S., V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne; Burnet Institute (T.S.), Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology and Center of Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), General University Hospital and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G.I.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences (A.L.), University "G. d'Annunzio," Chieti; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (A.L.), University of Bologna, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Italy; Hopital Notre Dame (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Montreal; CHUM and Universite de Montreal (A.P., M.G., P.D.); CISSS Chaudière-Appalache (P.G.), Levis, Canada; Department of Neurology (V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Neuro Rive-Sud (F. Grand'Maison), Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (V.S.), Isfahan, Iran; Amiri Hospital (R. Alroughani), Kuwait City, Kuwait; Zuyderland Ziekenhuis (R.H.), Sittard, the Netherlands; Medical Faculty (M. Terzi), 19 Mayis University, Samsun; KTU Medical Faculty Farabi Hospital (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; School of Medicine and Public Health (J.L.-S.), University Newcastle; Department of Neurology (J.L.-S.), John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia; UOC Neurologia (E.P.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.V.P.), Brussels, Belgium; University of Parma (F. Granella); C. Mondino National Neurological Institute (R.B.), Pavia; Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale San Giuseppe Moscati Avellino (D.S.), Italy; Flinders University (M. Slee), Adelaide; Westmead Hospital (S.V.), Sydney, Australia; Nemocnice Jihlava (R. Ampapa), Czech Republic; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane; Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; CSSS Saint-Jérôme (J.P.), Canada; Hospital Universitario Donostia (J.O.), Paseo de Begiristain, San Sebastián, Spain; Hospital Italiano (E.C.), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brain and Mind Centre (M.B.), University of Sydney, Australia; INEBA-Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (M.L.S.), Argentina; Hospital de Galdakao-Usansolo (J.L.S.-M.), Galdakao, Spain; Liverpool Hospital (S. Hodgkinson), Sydney, Australia; Jahn Ferenc Teaching Hospital (C.R.), Budapest, Hungary; Craigavon Area Hospital (S. Hughes), UK; Jewish General Hospital (F.M.), Montreal, Canada; Deakin University (C.S.), Geelong; Monash Medical Centre (E.B.), Melbourne, Australia; South East Trust (O.G.), Belfast, UK; Perron Institute (A.K.), University of Western Australia, Nedlands; Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (A.K.), Murdoch University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (A.K.), Perth, Australia; Department of Neurology (T.C.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Hungary; Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences (B.S.), Mumbai, India; St Vincents Hospital (N.S.), Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia; Veszprém Megyei Csolnoky Ferenc Kórház zrt (I.P.), Veszprem, Hungary; Royal Hobart Hospital (B.T.), Australia; Semmelweis University Budapest (M. Simo), Hungary; Central Military Emergency University Hospital (C.-A.S.), Bucharest; Titu Maiorescu University (C.-A.S.), Bucharest, Romania; BAZ County Hospital (A.S.), Miskolc, Hungary; and Box Hill Hospital (H.B.), Melbourne, Australia.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that immunotherapy prevents long-term disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), we modeled disability outcomes in 14,717 patients.

Methods: We studied patients from MSBase followed for ≥1 year, with ≥3 visits, ≥1 visit per year, and exposed to MS therapy, and a subset of patients with ≥15-year follow-up. Marginal structural models were used to compare the cumulative hazards of 12-month confirmed increase and decrease in disability, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) step 6, and the incidence of relapses between treated and untreated periods. Marginal structural models were continuously readjusted for patient age, sex, pregnancy, date, disease course, time from first symptom, prior relapse history, disability, and MRI activity.

Results: A total of 14,717 patients were studied. During the treated periods, patients were less likely to experience relapses (hazard ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43-0.82, = 0.0016), worsening of disability (0.56, 0.38-0.82, = 0.0026), and progress to EDSS step 6 (0.33, 0.19-0.59, = 0.00019). Among 1,085 patients with ≥15-year follow-up, the treated patients were less likely to experience relapses (0.59, 0.50-0.70, = 10) and worsening of disability (0.81, 0.67-0.99, = 0.043).

Conclusion: Continued treatment with MS immunotherapies reduces disability accrual by 19%-44% (95% CI 1%-62%), the risk of need of a walking aid by 67% (95% CI 41%-81%), and the frequency of relapses by 40-41% (95% CI 18%-57%) over 15 years. This study provides evidence that disease-modifying therapies are effective in improving disability outcomes in relapsing-remitting MS over the long term.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that, for patients with relapsing-remitting MS, long-term exposure to immunotherapy prevents neurologic disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884998PMC
February 2021

Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal study.

Mult Scler 2020 01 9;26(1):79-90. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/L4 Centre, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: The risk factors for conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis remain highly contested.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the demographic, clinical and paraclinical features that influence the risk of conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Patients with adult-onset relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and at least four recorded disability scores were selected from MSBase, a global observational cohort. The risk of conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive multiple sclerosis was evaluated at multiple time points per patient using multivariable marginal Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 15,717 patients were included in the primary analysis. Older age (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02,  < 0.001), longer disease duration (HR = 1.01,  = 0.038), a higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score (HR = 1.30,  < 0.001), more rapid disability trajectory (HR = 2.82,  < 0.001) and greater number of relapses in the previous year (HR = 1.07,  = 0.010) were independently associated with an increased risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Improving disability (HR = 0.62,  = 0.039) and disease-modifying therapy exposure (HR = 0.71,  = 0.007) were associated with a lower risk. Recent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging activity, evidence of spinal cord lesions and oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were not associated with the risk of conversion.

Conclusion: Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis increases with age, duration of illness and worsening disability and decreases with improving disability. Therapy may delay the onset of secondary progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519868990DOI Listing
January 2020

Higher latitude is significantly associated with an earlier age of disease onset in multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2016 Dec 3;87(12):1343-1349. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Background: Age at onset (AAO) in multiple sclerosis (MS) is an important marker of disease severity and may have prognostic significance. Understanding what factors can influence AAO may shed light on the aetiology of this complex disease, and have applications in the diagnostic process.

Methods: The study cohort of 22 162 eligible patients from 21 countries was extracted from the MSBase registry. Only patients with MS aged ≥16 years were included. To reduce heterogeneity, only centres of largely European descent were included for analysis. AAO was defined as the year of the first symptom suggestive of inflammatory central nervous system demyelination. Predictors of AAO were evaluated by linear regression.

Results: Compared with those living in lower latitudes (19.0-39.9°), onset of symptoms was 1.9 years earlier for those at higher latitudes (50.0-56.0°) (p=3.83×10). A reciprocal relationship was seen for ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR), with a significantly increasing AAO for patients with MS per each quartile increment of ambient UVR (p=1.56×10). We found that the AAO of female patients was ∼5 months earlier than male patients (p=0.002). AAO of progressive-onset patients with MS were ∼9 years later than relapsing-onset patients (p=1.40×10).

Conclusions: An earlier AAO in higher latitude regions was found in this worldwide European-descent cohort and correlated inversely with variation in latitudinal UVR. These results suggest that environmental factors which act at the population level may significantly influence disease severity characteristics in genetically susceptible populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2016-314013DOI Listing
December 2016

Defining secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2016 09 7;139(Pt 9):2395-405. Epub 2016 Jul 7.

1 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia 2 Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

A number of studies have been conducted with the onset of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis as an inclusion criterion or an outcome of interest. However, a standardized objective definition of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis has been lacking. The aim of this work was to evaluate the accuracy and feasibility of an objective definition for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, to enable comparability of future research studies. Using MSBase, a large, prospectively acquired, global cohort study, we analysed the accuracy of 576 data-derived onset definitions for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and first compared these to a consensus opinion of three neurologists. All definitions were then evaluated against 5-year disease outcomes post-assignment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: sustained disability, subsequent sustained progression, positive disability trajectory, and accumulation of severe disability. The five best performing definitions were further investigated for their timeliness and overall disability burden. A total of 17 356 patients were analysed. The best definition included a 3-strata progression magnitude in the absence of a relapse, confirmed after 3 months within the leading Functional System and required an Expanded Disability Status Scale step ≥4 and pyramidal score ≥2. It reached an accuracy of 87% compared to the consensus diagnosis. Seventy-eight per cent of the identified patients showed a positive disability trajectory and 70% reached significant disability after 5 years. The time until half of all patients were diagnosed was 32.6 years (95% confidence interval 32-33.6) after disease onset compared with the physicians' diagnosis at 36 (35-39) years. The identified patients experienced a greater disease burden [median annualized area under the disability-time curve 4.7 (quartiles 3.6, 6.0)] versus non-progressive patients [1.8 (1.2, 1.9)]. This objective definition of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis based on the Expanded Disability Status Scale and information about preceding relapses provides a tool for a reproducible, accurate and timely diagnosis that requires a very short confirmation period. If applied broadly, the definition has the potential to strengthen the design and improve comparability of clinical trials and observational studies in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/aww173DOI Listing
September 2016

Time- and Region-Specific Season of Birth Effects in Multiple Sclerosis in the United Kingdom.

JAMA Neurol 2016 Aug;73(8):954-60

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England.

Importance: The reports of seasonal variation in the births of people who later develop multiple sclerosis (MS) have been challenged and attributed to the background pattern in the general population, resulting in a false association.

Objective: To study the seasonality of MS births after adjusting for temporal and regional confounding factors.

Design, Setting, And Participants: A study was conducted using case-control data from 8 MS-specialized centers from the United Kingdom, MS cases from a population-based study in the Lothian and Border regions of Scotland, and death records from the UK Registrar General. Participants included 21 138 patients with MS and control data from the UK Office of National Statistics and the UK government office regions. The seasonality of MS births was evaluated using the Walter and Elwood test, after adjusting for temporal and regional variations in the live births of the UK population. The study was conducted from January 16, 2014, to September 2, 2015.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Results: Analysis of the general population indicated that seasonal differences are present across time and region in the United Kingdom, with both factors contributing to the monthly distribution of live births. We were able to demonstrate that, when adjusting for the temporal and regional variations in the live births of the UK population, there was a significant season of birth effect in patients with MS, with an increased risk of disease in the peak month (April) compared with the trough month (November) (odds ratio, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.10-1.41) and 15.68% fewer people who developed MS being born in November (observed to expected birth ratio, 0.840; 95% CI, 0.76-0.92).

Conclusions And Relevance: Season of birth is a risk factor for MS in the United Kingdom and cannot be attributed to the background pattern in the general population. The reasons for the variations in birth rates in the general population are unclear, but not taking them into consideration could lead to false-positive associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.1463DOI Listing
August 2016

Contribution of different relapse phenotypes to disability in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2017 Feb 11;23(2):266-276. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Objective: This study evaluated the effect of relapse phenotype on disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted in 19,504 patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis and minimum 1-year prospective follow-up from the MSBase cohort study. Multivariable linear regression models assessed associations between relapse incidence, phenotype and changes in disability (quantified with Expanded Disability Status Scale and its Functional System scores). Sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Results: In 34,858 relapses recorded during 136,462 patient-years (median follow-up 5.9 years), higher relapse incidence was associated with greater disability accumulation (β = 0.16, p < 0.001). Relapses of all phenotypes promoted disability accumulation, with the most pronounced increase associated with pyramidal (β = 0.27 (0.25-0.29)), cerebellar (β = 0.35 (0.30-0.39)) and bowel/bladder (β = 0.42 (0.35-0.49)) phenotypes (mean (95% confidence interval)). Higher incidence of each relapse phenotype was associated with an increase in disability in the corresponding neurological domain, as well as anatomically related domains.

Conclusion: Relapses are associated with accumulation of neurological disability. Relapses in pyramidal, cerebellar and bowel/bladder systems have the greatest association with disability change. Therefore, prevention of these relapses is an important objective of disease-modifying therapy. The differential impact of relapse phenotypes on disability outcomes could influence management of treatment failure in multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458516643392DOI Listing
February 2017

A Method of Trigonometric Modelling of Seasonal Variation Demonstrated with Multiple Sclerosis Relapse Data.

J Vis Exp 2015 Dec 9(106):e53169. Epub 2015 Dec 9.

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital; Department of Medicine (RMH), The University of Melbourne.

This report describes a novel Stata-based application of trigonometric regression modelling to 55 years of multiple sclerosis relapse data from 46 clinical centers across 20 countries located in both hemispheres. Central to the success of this method was the strategic use of plot analysis to guide and corroborate the statistical regression modelling. Initial plot analysis was necessary for establishing realistic hypotheses regarding the presence and structural form of seasonal and latitudinal influences on relapse probability and then testing the performance of the resultant models. Trigonometric regression was then necessary to quantify these relationships, adjust for important confounders and provide a measure of certainty as to how plausible these associations were. Synchronization of graphing techniques with regression modelling permitted a systematic refinement of models until best-fit convergence was achieved, enabling novel inferences to be made regarding the independent influence of both season and latitude in predicting relapse onset timing in MS. These methods have the potential for application across other complex disease and epidemiological phenomena suspected or known to vary systematically with season and/or geographic location.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/53169DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4692792PMC
December 2015

Defining reliable disability outcomes in multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2015 Nov 10;138(Pt 11):3287-98. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

1 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia 2 Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia 32 Department of Neurology, Box Hill Hospital, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Prevention of irreversible disability is currently the most important goal of disease modifying therapy for multiple sclerosis. The disability outcomes used in most clinical trials rely on progression of Expanded Disability Status Scale score confirmed over 3 or 6 months. However, sensitivity and stability of this metric has not been extensively evaluated. Using the global MSBase cohort study, we evaluated 48 criteria of disability progression, testing three definitions of baseline disability, two definitions of progression magnitude, two definitions of long-term irreversibility and four definitions of event confirmation period. The study outcomes comprised the rates of detected progression events per 10 years and the proportions of the recorded events persistent at later time points. To evaluate the ratio of progression frequency and stability for each criterion, we calculated the proportion of events persistent over the five subsequent years once progression was achieved. Finally, we evaluated the clinical and demographic determinants characterising progression events and, for those that regressed back to baseline, determinants of their subsequent regression. The study population consisted of 16 636 patients with the minimum of three recorded disability scores, totalling 112 584 patient-years. The progression rates varied between 0.41 and 1.14 events per 10 years, with the length of required confirmation interval as the most important determinant of the observed variance. The concordance among all tested progression criteria was only 17.3%. Regression of disability occurred in 11-34% of the progression events over the five subsequent years. The most important determinant of progression stability was the length of the confirmation period. For the most accurate set of the progression criteria, the proportions of 3-, 6-, 12- or 24-month confirmed events persistent over 5 years reached 70%, 74%, 80% and 89%, respectively. Regression post progression was more common in younger patients, relapsing-remitting disease course, and after a smaller change in disability, and was inflated by higher visit frequency. These results suggest that the disability outcomes based on 3-6-month confirmed disability progression overestimate the accumulation of permanent disability by up to 30%. This could lead to spurious results in short-term clinical trials, and the issue may be magnified further in cohorts consisting predominantly of younger patients and patients with relapsing-remitting disease. Extension of the required confirmation period increases the persistence of progression events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awv258DOI Listing
November 2015

The effect of oral immunomodulatory therapy on treatment uptake and persistence in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2016 Apr 21;22(4):520-32. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Objective: We aimed to analyse the effect of the introduction of fingolimod, the first oral disease-modifying therapy, on treatment utilisation and persistence in an international cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: MSBASIS, a prospective, observational sub-study of the MSBase registry, collects demographic, clinical and paraclinical data on patients followed from MS onset (n=4718). We conducted a multivariable conditional risk set survival analysis to identify predictors of treatment discontinuation, and to assess if the introduction of fingolimod has altered treatment persistence.

Results: A total of 2640 patients commenced immunomodulatory therapy. Following the introduction of fingolimod, patients were more likely to discontinue all other treatments (hazard ratio 1.64, p<0.001) while more patients switched to fingolimod than any other therapy (42.3% of switches). Patients switched to fingolimod due to convenience. Patients treated with fingolimod were less likely to discontinue treatment compared with other therapies (p<0.001). Female sex, country of residence, younger age, a high Expanded Disability Status Scale score and relapse activity were all independently associated with higher rates of treatment discontinuation.

Conclusion: Following the availability of fingolimod, patients were more likely to discontinue injectable treatments. Those who switched to fingolimod were more likely to do so for convenience. Persistence was improved on fingolimod compared to other medications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458515594041DOI Listing
April 2016

Symptomatic therapy in multiple sclerosis: Big pharma should do more - NO.

Mult Scler 2015 Jul 17;21(8):978-9. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

Ulster Hospital Dundonald, South Eastern HSC Trust, UK

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458515587930DOI Listing
July 2015

Male Sex Is Independently Associated with Faster Disability Accumulation in Relapse-Onset MS but Not in Primary Progressive MS.

PLoS One 2015 5;10(6):e0122686. Epub 2015 Jun 5.

John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia.

Background: Multiple Sclerosis is more common in women than men and females have more relapses than men. In a large international cohort we have evaluated the effect of gender on disability accumulation and disease progression to determine if male MS patients have a worse clinical outcome than females.

Methods: Using the MSBase Registry, data from 15,826 MS patients from 25 countries was analysed. Changes in the severity of MS (EDSS) were compared between sexes using a repeated measures analysis in generalised linear mixed models. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to test for sex difference in the time to reach EDSS milestones 3 and 6 and the secondary progressive MS.

Results: In relapse onset MS patients (n = 14,453), males progressed significantly faster in their EDSS than females (0.133 vs 0.112 per year, P<0.001,). Females had a reduced risk of secondary progressive MS (HR (95% CI) = 0.77 (0.67 to 0.90) P = 0.001). In primary progressive MS (n = 1,373), there was a significant increase in EDSS over time in males and females (P<0.001) but there was no significant sex effect on the annualized rate of EDSS change.

Conclusion: Among registrants of MSBase, male relapse-onset patients accumulate disability faster than female patients. In contrast, the rate of disability accumulation between male and female patients with primary progressive MS is similar.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122686PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4457630PMC
March 2016

Comparative effectiveness of glatiramer acetate and interferon beta formulations in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2015 Aug 5;21(9):1159-71. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and Department of Neurology, Box Hill Hospital, Monash University, Box Hill, Australia.

Background: The results of head-to-head comparisons of injectable immunomodulators (interferon β, glatiramer acetate) have been inconclusive and a comprehensive analysis of their effectiveness is needed.

Objective: We aimed to compare, in a real-world setting, relapse and disability outcomes among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with injectable immunomodulators.

Methods: Pairwise analysis of the international MSBase registry data was conducted using propensity-score matching. The four injectable immunomodulators were compared in six head-to-head analyses of relapse and disability outcomes using paired mixed models or frailty proportional hazards models adjusted for magnetic resonance imaging variables. Sensitivity and power analyses were conducted.

Results: Of the 3326 included patients, 345-1199 patients per therapy were matched (median pairwise-censored follow-up was 3.7 years). Propensity matching eliminated >95% of the identified indication bias. Slightly lower relapse incidence was found among patients treated with glatiramer acetate or subcutaneous interferon β-1a relative to intramuscular interferon β-1a and interferon β-1b (p≤0.001). No differences in 12-month confirmed progression of disability were observed.

Conclusion: Small but statistically significant differences in relapse outcomes exist among the injectable immunomodulators. MSBase is sufficiently powered to identify these differences and reflects practice in tertiary MS centres. While the present study controlled indication, selection and attrition bias, centre-dependent variance in data quality was likely.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458514559865DOI Listing
August 2015

Seasonal variation of relapse rate in multiple sclerosis is latitude dependent.

Ann Neurol 2014 Dec 20;76(6):880-90. Epub 2014 Oct 20.

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia.

Objective: Previous studies assessing seasonal variation of relapse onset in multiple sclerosis have had conflicting results. Small relapse numbers, differing diagnostic criteria, and single region studies limit the generalizability of prior results. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a temporal variation in onset of relapses in both hemispheres and to determine whether seasonal peak relapse probability varies with latitude.

Methods: The international MSBase Registry was utilized to analyze seasonal relapse onset distribution by hemisphere and latitudinal location. All analyses were weighted for the patient number contributed by each center. A sine regression model was used to model relapse onset and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) seasonality. Linear regression was used to investigate associations of latitude and lag between UVR trough and subsequent relapse peak.

Results: A total of 32,762 relapses from 9,811 patients across 30 countries were analyzed. Relapse onset followed an annual cyclical sinusoidal pattern with peaks in early spring and troughs in autumn in both hemispheres. Every 10° of latitude away from the equator was associated with a mean decrease in UVR trough to subsequent relapse peak lag of 28.5 days (95% confidence interval = 3.29-53.71, p = 0.028).

Interpretation: We demonstrate for the first time that there is a latitude-dependent relationship between seasonal UVR trough and relapse onset probability peak independent of location-specific UVR levels, with more distal latitude associated with shorter gaps. We confirm prior meta-analyses showing a strong seasonal relapse onset probability variation in the northern hemisphere, and extend this observation to the southern hemisphere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24287DOI Listing
December 2014

Risk of relapse phenotype recurrence in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2014 Oct 28;20(11):1511-22. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

Royal Melbourne Hospital, AustraliaUniversity of Melbourne, Australia.

Objectives: The aim was to analyse risk of relapse phenotype recurrence in multiple sclerosis and to characterise the effect of demographic and clinical features on this phenotype.

Methods: Information about relapses was collected using MSBase, an international observational registry. Associations between relapse phenotypes and history of similar relapses or patient characteristics were tested with multivariable logistic regression models. Tendency of relapse phenotypes to recur sequentially was assessed with principal component analysis.

Results: Among 14,969 eligible patients (89,949 patient-years), 49,279 phenotypically characterised relapses were recorded. Visual and brainstem relapses occurred more frequently in early disease and in younger patients. Sensory relapses were more frequent in early or non-progressive disease. Pyramidal, sphincter and cerebellar relapses were more common in older patients and in progressive disease. Women presented more often with sensory or visual symptoms. Men were more prone to pyramidal, brainstem and cerebellar relapses. Importantly, relapse phenotype was predicted by the phenotypes of previous relapses. (OR = 1.8-5, p = 10(-14)). Sensory, visual and brainstem relapses showed better recovery than other relapse phenotypes. Relapse severity increased and the ability to recover decreased with age or more advanced disease.

Conclusion: Relapse phenotype was associated with demographic and clinical characteristics, with phenotypic recurrence significantly more common than expected by chance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458514528762DOI Listing
October 2014

Sex as a determinant of relapse incidence and progressive course of multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2013 Dec 18;136(Pt 12):3609-17. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

1 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

The aim of this work was to evaluate sex differences in the incidence of multiple sclerosis relapses; assess the relationship between sex and primary progressive disease course; and compare effects of age and disease duration on relapse incidence. Annualized relapse rates were calculated using the MSBase registry. Patients with incomplete data or <1 year of follow-up were excluded. Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis were only included in the sex ratio analysis. Relapse incidences over 40 years of multiple sclerosis or 70 years of age were compared between females and males with Andersen-Gill and Tweedie models. Female-to-male ratios stratified by annual relapse count were evaluated across disease duration and patient age and compared between relapse-onset and primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The study cohort consisted of 11 570 eligible patients with relapse-onset and 881 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Among the relapse-onset patients (82 552 patient-years), 48,362 relapses were recorded. Relapse frequency was 17.7% higher in females compared with males. Within the initial 5 years, the female-to-male ratio increased from 2.3:1 to 3.3:1 in patients with 0 versus ≥4 relapses per year, respectively. The magnitude of this sex effect increased at longer disease duration and older age (P < 10(-12)). However, the female-to-male ratio in patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis and zero relapses in any given year was double that of the patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Patient age was a more important determinant of decline in relapse incidence than disease duration (P < 10(-12)). Females are predisposed to higher relapse activity than males. However, this difference does not explain the markedly lower female-to-male sex ratio in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Decline in relapse activity over time is more closely related to patient age than disease duration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awt281DOI Listing
December 2013

Predictors and dynamics of postpartum relapses in women with multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2014 May 9;20(6):739-46. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Department of Neurology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK.

Background: Several studies have shown that pregnancy reduces multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses, which increase in the early postpartum period. Postpartum relapse risk has been predicted by pre-pregnancy disease activity in some studies.

Objective: To re-examine effect of pregnancy on relapses using the large international MSBase Registry, examining predictors of early postpartum relapse.

Methods: An observational case-control study was performed including pregnancies post-MS onset. Annualised relapse rate (ARR) and median Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores were compared for the 24 months pre-conception, pregnancy and 24 months postpartum periods. Clustered logistic regression was used to investigate predictors of early postpartum relapses.

Results: The study included 893 pregnancies in 674 females with MS. ARR (standard error) pre-pregnancy was 0.32 (0.02), which fell to 0.13 (0.03) in the third trimester and rose to 0.61 (0.06) in the first three months postpartum. Median EDSS remained unchanged. Pre-conception ARR and disease-modifying treatment (DMT) predicted early postpartum relapse in a multivariable model.

Conclusion: Results confirm a favourable effect on relapses as pregnancy proceeds, and an early postpartum peak. Pre-conception DMT exposure and low ARR were independently protective against postpartum relapse. This novel finding could provide clinicians with a strategy to minimise postpartum relapse risk in women with MS planning pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458513507816DOI Listing
May 2014

Persistence on therapy and propensity matched outcome comparison of two subcutaneous interferon beta 1a dosages for multiple sclerosis.

PLoS One 2013 21;8(5):e63480. Epub 2013 May 21.

Departments of Medicine and Neurology, University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Objectives: To compare treatment persistence between two dosages of interferon β-1a in a large observational multiple sclerosis registry and assess disease outcomes of first line MS treatment at these dosages using propensity scoring to adjust for baseline imbalance in disease characteristics.

Methods: Treatment discontinuations were evaluated in all patients within the MSBase registry who commenced interferon β-1a SC thrice weekly (n = 4678). Furthermore, we assessed 2-year clinical outcomes in 1220 patients treated with interferon β-1a in either dosage (22 µg or 44 µg) as their first disease modifying agent, matched on propensity score calculated from pre-treatment demographic and clinical variables. A subgroup analysis was performed on 456 matched patients who also had baseline MRI variables recorded.

Results: Overall, 4054 treatment discontinuations were recorded in 3059 patients. The patients receiving the lower interferon dosage were more likely to discontinue treatment than those with the higher dosage (25% vs. 20% annual probability of discontinuation, respectively). This was seen in discontinuations with reasons recorded as "lack of efficacy" (3.3% vs. 1.7%), "scheduled stop" (2.2% vs. 1.3%) or without the reason recorded (16.7% vs. 13.3% annual discontinuation rate, 22 µg vs. 44 µg dosage, respectively). Propensity score was determined by treating centre and disability (score without MRI parameters) or centre, sex and number of contrast-enhancing lesions (score including MRI parameters). No differences in clinical outcomes at two years (relapse rate, time relapse-free and disability) were observed between the matched patients treated with either of the interferon dosages.

Conclusions: Treatment discontinuations were more common in interferon β-1a 22 µg SC thrice weekly. However, 2-year clinical outcomes did not differ between patients receiving the different dosages, thus replicating in a registry dataset derived from "real-world" database the results of the pivotal randomised trial. Propensity score matching effectively minimised baseline covariate imbalance between two directly compared sub-populations from a large observational registry.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0063480PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660604PMC
December 2013

Increasing age at disability milestones among MS patients in the MSBase Registry.

J Neurol Sci 2012 Jul 14;318(1-2):94-9. Epub 2012 Apr 14.

NYU-Multiple Sclerosis Care Center, Department of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY 10003, USA.

Objective: To analyze time-trends in age at disability milestones among MS patients who were enrolled into the MSBase International Registry during 1996-2010 period.

Methods: We used linear regression to describe the relationship between mean age at major EDSS benchmarks and calendar time. We then assessed time-trend in age at initial EDSS rating with a three level linear growth model specifying that patients were nested within each of 20 participating countries. The model estimated the average of time-trends in mean age at initial clinical assessment within each country while controlling for patients' EDSS and sex in each country. Analyses were repeated in subsamples of patients diagnosed according to Poser or McDonald criteria.

Results: The MSBase Registry contained data on 11,108 MS patients enrolled between 1996 and 2010 who fulfilled our inclusion criteria. During the 1996-2010 period, enrollment age for patients with EDSS 4/4.5 increased by 7.9 years, from 43 to 51 years (p<0.001), and for EDSS 6/6.5 - by 4.9 years, from 48 to 53 year (p<0.001). These trends were consistent across 20 investigator countries and were observed in Poser-diagnosed as well as McDonald-diagnosed patient subsets.

Conclusions: The more recent MSBase enrollees in each of the mild-to-moderate disability strata were significantly older than earlier enrollees. Possible explanations for this phenomenon are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2012.03.017DOI Listing
July 2012

The Kurtzke EDSS rank stability increases 4 years after the onset of multiple sclerosis: results from the MSBase Registry.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2012 Mar 28;83(3):305-10. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia.

Background: The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) is widely used to rate multiple sclerosis (MS) disability, but lack of disease duration information limits utility in assessing severity. EDSS ranking at specific disease durations was used to devise the MS Severity Score, which is gaining popularity for predicting outcomes. As this requires validation in longitudinal cohorts, we aimed to assess the utility of EDSS ranking as a predictor of 5-year outcome in the MSBase Registry.

Methods: Rank stability of EDSS over time was examined in the MSBase Registry, a large multicentre MS cohort. Scores were ranked for 5-year intervals, and correlation of rank across intervals was assessed using Spearman's rank correlation. EDSS progression outcomes at 10 years were disaggregated by 5-year EDSS scores.

Results: Correlation coefficients for EDSS rank over 5-year intervals increased with MS duration: years 1-6=0.55, years 4-9=0.74, years 7-12=0.80 and years 10-15=0.83. EDSS progression risk at 10 years after onset was highly dependent on EDSS at 5 years; one-point progression risk was greater for EDSS score of >2 than ≤2. Two-point progression was uncommon for EDSS score of <2 and more common at EDSS score of 4.

Conclusions: EDSS rank stability increases with disease duration, probably due to reduced relapses and less random variation in later disease. After 4 years duration, EDSS rank was highly predictive of EDSS rank 5 years later. Risk of progression by 10 years was highly dependent on EDSS score at 5 years duration. We confirm the utility of EDSS ranking to predict 5-year outcome in individuals 4 years after disease onset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2011-301051DOI Listing
March 2012