Publications by authors named "Pierre Duquette"

106 Publications

Determinants of therapeutic lag in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2021 Jan 11:1352458520981300. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Melbourne MS Centre, Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: A delayed onset of treatment effect, termed therapeutic lag, may influence the assessment of treatment response in some patient subgroups.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to explore the associations of patient and disease characteristics with therapeutic lag on relapses and disability accumulation.

Methods: Data from MSBase, a multinational multiple sclerosis (MS) registry, and OFSEP, the French MS registry, were used. Patients diagnosed with MS, minimum 1 year of exposure to MS treatment and 3 years of pre-treatment follow-up, were included in the analysis. Studied outcomes were incidence of relapses and disability accumulation. Therapeutic lag was calculated using an objective, validated method in subgroups stratified by patient and disease characteristics. Therapeutic lag under specific circumstances was then estimated in subgroups defined by combinations of clinical and demographic determinants.

Results: High baseline disability scores, annualised relapse rate (ARR) ⩾ 1 and male sex were associated with longer therapeutic lag on disability progression in sufficiently populated groups: females with expanded disability status scale (EDSS) < 6 and ARR < 1 had mean lag of 26.6 weeks (95% CI = 18.2-34.9), males with EDSS < 6 and ARR < 1 31.0 weeks (95% CI = 25.3-36.8), females with EDSS < 6 and ARR ⩾ 1 44.8 weeks (95% CI = 24.5-65.1), and females with EDSS ⩾ 6 and ARR < 1 54.3 weeks (95% CI = 47.2-61.5).

Conclusions: Pre-treatment EDSS and ARR are the most important determinants of therapeutic lag.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520981300DOI Listing
January 2021

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
February 2021

Interleukin-15 enhances proinflammatory T-cell responses in patients with MS and EAE.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 01 15;8(1). Epub 2020 Dec 15.

From the Department of Neurosciences (C. Laurent, G.D., M.-L.C., A.C.M., N.F.-k., M.G., P.D., A.P., C. Larochelle, N.A.), Université de Montréal and CRCHUM; and MS-CHUM Clinic (M.G., P.D., A.P., C. Larochelle), Québec, Canada.

Objective: We posit that interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a relevant contributor to MS pathobiology as this cytokine is elevated in the CNS and periphery of patients with MS. We aim to investigate (1) the impact of IL-15 on T lymphocytes from patients with MS and (2) the in vivo role of IL-15 using the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model.

Methods: We compared the impact of IL-15 on T lymphocytes obtained from untreated patients with MS (relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, and primary progressive) to cells from age/sex-matched healthy controls (HCs) using multiparametric flow cytometry and in vitro assays. We tested the effects of peripheral IL-15 administration after EAE disease onset in C57BL/6 mice.

Results: IL-15 triggered STAT5 signaling in an elevated proportion of T cells from patients with MS compared with HCs. This cytokine also enhanced the production of key proinflammatory cytokines (interferon γ, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor [GM-CSF], IL-17, and tumor necrosis factor) by T cells from both MS and controls, but these effects were more robust for the production of IL-17 and GM-CSF in T-cell subsets from patients with MS. At the peak of EAE disease, the proportion of CD4 and CD8 T cells expressing CD122, the key signaling IL-15 receptor chain, was enriched in the CNS compared with the spleen. Finally, peripheral administration of IL-15 into EAE mice after disease onset significantly aggravated clinical scores and increased the number of inflammatory CNS-infiltrating T cells long term after stopping IL-15 administration.

Conclusions: Our results underscore that IL-15 contributes to the amplification of T-cell inflammatory properties after disease onset in both MS and EAE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000931DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745728PMC
January 2021

The effects of aging and disease duration on cognition in multiple sclerosis.

Brain Cogn 2020 12 16;146:105650. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, CP 8888, succ. Centre-ville, Montreal H3C 3P8, Canada; Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, 900 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3H8, Canada. Electronic address:

Objectives: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that can interfere with cognitive functions. The purpose of this study is to document the impact of MS, aging and disease duration on cognitive functioning as both life expectancy and incidence of the disease among persons with MS (PwMS) aged 50 years and over (late-onset MS) are increasing in the last two decades.

Methods: Exhaustive neuropsychological evaluation was performed in 84 PwMS (30 young, 30 elderly adult-onset, 25 elderly late-onset) and 50 control participants (25 young, 24 elderly). ANCOVAs and hierarchical linear regressions were used to meet the objectives.

Results: Interaction effects were found between age and presence of MS on higher executive function and information processing speed/working memory. After controlling for confounding variables (fatigue, quality of life, depression, MS course, comorbidity), results demonstrated an important role of age on all cognitive functions but only a trend of disease duration on information processing speed/working memory.

Conclusion: Decline in higher executive functions and information processing speed/working memory in aging is accentuated by the presence of MS, but the impact of age and MS on memory are independent. Age appears to be the variable having the most important role on cognition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2020.105650DOI Listing
December 2020

Treatment Response Score to Glatiramer Acetate or Interferon Beta-1a.

Neurology 2021 01 6;96(2):e214-e227. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

From the Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL) (F.B., M.P.S.), University of Genoa, Italy; CORe (T.K., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology (F.L.), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY; Department of Biostatistics (G.C.), University of Alabama at Birmingham; Department of Neurology and Center for Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), First Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Department of Neuroscience (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging, and Clinical Sciences (M.O.), University G. d'Annunzio, Chieti; IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna (A.L.); Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Neuromotorie (A.L.), Università di Bologna, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G. Izquierdo. S.E.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Medical, Surgical Science and Advanced Technology "GF Ingrassia" (F.P.), University of Catania, Italy; Ondokuz Mayis University (M. Terzi), Department of Neurology, Samsun, Turkey; CISSS Chaudi're-Appalache (P.G.), Centre-Hospitalier, Levis, Quebec, Canada; IRCCS Mondino Foundation (R.B.), Pavia; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Department of Neurology (S.O.), Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey; Ospedali Riuniti di Salerno (G. Iuliano), Salerno, Italy; Department of Neurology (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; Department of Neurology (R.H.), Zuyderland Medical Center, Sittard, the Netherlands; Neuro Rive-Sud (F.G.), Hôpital Charles LeMoyne, Greenfield Park, Quebec, Canada; Clinico San Carlos (C.O.-G), Madrid, Spain; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.v.P.); Université Catholique de Louvain (V.v.P.), Brussels, Belgium; UOC Neurologia (E.C.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Kommunehospitalet (T.P.), Arhus C, Denmark; Koc University (A.A.), School of Medicine; Bakirkoy Education and Research Hospital for Psychiatric and Neurological Diseases (A.S.), Istanbul, Turkey; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Haydarpasa Numune Training and Research Hospital (R.T.), Istanbul, Turkey; Central Clinical School (H.B.), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (J.S.W.); Rehabilitation Unit (C.S.), "Mons. L. Novarese" Hospital, Moncrivello; and IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino (M.P.S.), Genoa, Italy.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of glatiramer acetate (GA) vs intramuscular interferon beta-1a (IFN-β-1a), we applied a previously published statistical method aimed at identifying patients' profiles associated with efficacy of treatments.

Methods: Data from 2 independent multiple sclerosis datasets, a randomized study (the Combination Therapy in Patients With Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis [CombiRx] trial, evaluating GA vs IFN-β-1a) and an observational cohort extracted from MSBase, were used to build and validate a treatment response score, regressing annualized relapse rates (ARRs) on a set of baseline predictors.

Results: The overall ARR ratio of GA to IFN-β-1a in the CombiRx trial was 0.72. The response score (made up of a linear combination of age, sex, relapses in the previous year, disease duration, and Expanded Disability Status Scale score) detected differential response of GA vs IFN-β-1a: in the trial, patients with the largest benefit from GA vs IFN-β-1a (lower score quartile) had an ARR ratio of 0.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25-0.63), those in the 2 middle quartiles of 0.90 (95% CI 0.61-1.34), and those in the upper quartile of 1.14 (95% CI 0.59-2.18) (heterogeneity = 0.012); this result was validated on MSBase, with the corresponding ARR ratios of 0.58 (95% CI 0.46-0.72), 0.92 (95% CI 0.77-1.09,) and 1.29 (95% CI 0.97-1.71); heterogeneity < 0.0001).

Conclusions: We demonstrate the possibility of a criterion, based on patients' characteristics, to choose whether to treat with GA or IFN-β-1a. This result, replicated on an independent real-life cohort, may have implications for clinical decisions in everyday clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010991DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7905777PMC
January 2021

Interleukin-26, preferentially produced by T17 lymphocytes, regulates CNS barrier function.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2020 11 11;7(6). Epub 2020 Aug 11.

From the Neuroimmunology Unit and Multiple Sclerosis Clinic (B.B., S.Z., E.G., M.C., M.-A.L., O.T., L.H., L.B., J.-P.O., F.L., S.L., R.C., B.L., J.P., P.D., N.A., E.P., A.P.), The Research Center of the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Canada; Hasselt University (B.B.), Biomedical Research Institute and Transnationale Universiteit Limburg, School of Life Sciences, Diepenbeek, Belgium; and Division of Neurosurgery (A.B., R.M.), Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Canada.

Objective: To investigate the involvement of interleukin (IL)-26 in neuroinflammatory processes in multiple sclerosis (MS), in particular in blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity.

Methods: Expression of IL-26 was measured in serum, CSF, in vitro differentiated T helper (T) cell subsets, and postmortem brain tissue of patients with MS and controls by ELISA, quantitative PCR, and immunohistochemistry. Primary human and mouse BBB endothelial cells (ECs) were treated with IL-26 in vitro and assessed for BBB integrity. RNA sequencing was performed on IL-26-treated human BBB ECs. Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice were injected IP with IL-26. BBB leakage and immune cell infiltration were assessed in the CNS of these mice using immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry.

Results: IL-26 expression was induced in T lymphocytes by T17-inducing cytokines and was upregulated in the blood and CSF of patients with MS. CD4IL-26 T lymphocytes were found in perivascular infiltrates in MS brain lesions, and both receptor chains for IL-26 (IL-10R2 and IL-20R1) were detected on BBB ECs in vitro and in situ. In contrast to IL-17 and IL-22, IL-26 promoted integrity and reduced permeability of BBB ECs in vitro and in vivo. In EAE, IL-26 reduced disease severity and proinflammatory lymphocyte infiltration into the CNS, while increasing infiltration of Tregs.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that although IL-26 is preferentially expressed by T17 lymphocytes, it promotes BBB integrity in vitro and in vivo and is protective in chronic EAE, highlighting the functional diversity of cytokines produced by T17 lymphocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000870DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428369PMC
November 2020

Association of Sustained Immunotherapy With Disability Outcomes in Patients With Active Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

JAMA Neurol 2020 Jul 27. Epub 2020 Jul 27.

Clinical Outcomes Research Unit (CORe), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Importance: It is unclear whether relapses and disease-modifying therapies are associated with the rate of disability accumulation in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).

Objective: To examine the association of relapses with the rate of disability accumulation in patients with SPMS and to assess whether treatment before or during the secondary progressive phase can slow the progression of disability accumulation.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this observational cohort study, patient data were prospectively collected from the MSBase international registry between January 1, 1995, and February 1, 2018. Among 53 680 patients in the MSBase registry, 4997 patients with SPMS (using the Lorscheider definition) were identified. Of those, 1621 patients were eligible for study inclusion based on sufficient follow-up before and after the onset of SPMS. Data were analyzed from November 15, 2017, to January 13, 2020.

Exposures: The association between disability accumulation and several clinical and demographic variables, including relapses and exposure to immunotherapy, was evaluated.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Two outcomes were analyzed as measures of disability accumulation during SPMS: the rate of disability accumulation during the secondary progressive phase (change relative to the reference population of patients with MS and absolute change) and the risk of becoming wheelchair dependent. A third outcome, the cumulative risk of experiencing confirmed disability progression events, was used for a secondary analysis. Outcomes were evaluated using multivariable mixed models (ie, linear and Cox models).

Results: Of 1621 patients eligible for inclusion, 1103 patients (68.0%) were female, with a mean (SD) age at MS onset of 33.9 (10.6) years. A total of 661 patients (40.8%) experienced superimposed relapses during SPMS. Therapy receipt and relapses during early relapsing-remitting MS were not associated with disability accumulation during the secondary progressive phase. Higher relapse rates during the secondary progressive disease stage were associated with an increased risk of becoming wheelchair dependent (hazard ratio [HR], 1.87; 95% CI, 1.17-3.00; P = .009). Among patients who experienced superimposed relapses during SPMS, greater receipt of disease-modifying therapies was significantly associated with a reduced rate of disability progression and a lower risk of becoming wheelchair dependent.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this study, the rate of disability progression after the onset of SPMS was not associated with the early disease course and treatment decisions. Relapses during SPMS were associated with accelerated disability progression and represent an accessible treatment target. Disease-modifying therapy was associated with improvements in disability outcomes among patients with active relapses during SPMS. The study's results suggest that inflammatory disease activity remains a substantial yet modifiable component of SPMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.2453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7385679PMC
July 2020

Treatment Optimization in Multiple Sclerosis: Canadian MS Working Group Recommendations.

Can J Neurol Sci 2020 07 6;47(4):437-455. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Working Group has updated its treatment optimization recommendations (TORs) on the optimal use of disease-modifying therapies for patients with all forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Recommendations provide guidance on initiating effective treatment early in the course of disease, monitoring response to therapy, and modifying or switching therapies to optimize disease control. The current TORs also address the treatment of pediatric MS, progressive MS and the identification and treatment of aggressive forms of the disease. Newer therapies offer improved efficacy, but also have potential safety concerns that must be adequately balanced, notably when treatment sequencing is considered. There are added discussions regarding the management of pregnancy, the future potential of biomarkers and consideration as to when it may be prudent to stop therapy. These TORs are meant to be used and interpreted by all neurologists with a special interest in the management of MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cjn.2020.66DOI Listing
July 2020

Disability outcomes of early cerebellar and brainstem symptoms in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2020 Jun 15:1352458520926955. Epub 2020 Jun 15.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of Neurology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: Cerebellar and brainstem symptoms are common in early stages of multiple sclerosis (MS) yet their prognostic values remain unclear.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate long-term disability outcomes in patients with early cerebellar and brainstem symptoms.

Methods: This study used data from MSBase registry. Patients with early cerebellar/brainstem presentations were identified as those with cerebellar/brainstem relapse(s) or functional system score ⩾ 2 in the initial 2 years. Early pyramidal presentation was chosen as a comparator. Andersen-Gill models were used to compare cumulative hazards of (1) disability progression events and (2) relapses between patients with and without early cerebellar/brainstem symptoms. Mixed effect models were used to estimate the associations between early cerebellar/brainstem presentations and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scores.

Results: The study cohort consisted of 10,513 eligible patients, including 2723 and 3915 patients with early cerebellar and brainstem symptoms, respectively. Early cerebellar presentation was associated with greater hazard of progression events (HR = 1.37,  < 0.001) and EDSS (β = 0.16,  < 0.001). Patients with early brainstem symptoms had lower hazard of progression events (HR = 0.89,  = 0.01) and EDSS (β = -0.06,  < 0.001). Neither presentation was associated with changes in relapse risk.

Conclusion: Early cerebellar presentation is associated with unfavourable outcomes, while early brainstem presentation is associated with favourable prognosis. These presentations may be used as MS prognostic markers and guide therapeutic approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520926955DOI Listing
June 2020

Frailty in ageing persons with multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2020 May 27:1352458520923945. Epub 2020 May 27.

Clinique de Sclérose en plaques du Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Montreal, QC, Canada/Department of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Background: Recent progress in multiple sclerosis (MS) management has contributed to a greater life expectancy in persons with MS. Ageing with MS comes with unique challenges and bears the potential to greatly affect quality of life and socioeconomic burden.

Objectives: To compare frailty in ageing persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) and controls; to correlate frailty with MS clinical characteristics.

Methods: PwMS and controls over 50 years old were recruited in a cross-sectional study. Two validated frailty measures were assessed: the frailty index and the Fried's phenotype. Several multiple linear regressions accounting for demographic and clinical characteristics were performed.

Results: Eighty pwMS (57 females, mean age 58.5 ± 6 years old) and 37 controls (24 females, mean age 61 ± 6.5 years old) were recruited. Multivariable analysis identified significantly higher frailty index in pwMS (0.21 ± 0.12 vs 0.11 ± 0.08, p < 0.0001). Similarly, according to Fried's phenotype, a significantly higher percentage of pwMS were frail compared to controls (28% vs 8%). In pwMS, frailty index was independently associated with expanded disability status scale (EDSS), comorbidities, education level and disease duration.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that frailty can be routinely assessed in pwMS. Increased frailty in MS patients suggests that, along with MS therapeutics, a tailored multidisciplinary approach of ageing pwMS is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520923945DOI Listing
May 2020

Detecting Subtle Cognitive Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

Can J Neurol Sci 2020 09 26;47(5):620-626. Epub 2020 May 26.

Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada.

Background: Although cognitive deficits are frequent in multiple sclerosis (MS), screening for them with tools such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test is usually not performed unless there is a subjective complaint. The Multiple Sclerosis Neuropsychological Questionnaire (MSNQ) is among the instruments most commonly used to assess self-reported subjective complaints in MS. Nonetheless, it does not always accurately reflect cognitive status; many patients with cognitive deficits thus fail to receive appropriate referral for detailed neuropsychological evaluation. The objective of this study was to examine the validity of the MoCA test to detect the presence of objective cognitive deficits among patients with MS without subjective complaints using the Minimal Assessment of Cognitive Function in MS (MACFIMS) as the gold standard.

Methods: The sample included 98 patients who were recruited from a university hospital MS clinic. The MSNQ was used to select patients without subjective cognitive complaints who also completed the MACFIMS, MoCA test and MSQOL-54.

Results: 23.5% of patients without subjective cognitive complaints had evidence of objective cognitive impairment on the MACFIMS (z score < -1.5 on two or more tests). The MoCA had a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 68% for detecting objective cognitive impairment in this patient population using a cut-off score of 27.

Conclusion: A significant proportion of patients without self-reported cognitive impairment do have evidence of cognitive deficits on more exhaustive cognitive assessment. The MoCA is a rapid screening test that could be used to target patients for whom a more detailed neuropsychological assessment would be recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cjn.2020.97DOI Listing
September 2020

Participation in and outcomes from a 12-month tailored exercise programme for people with multiple sclerosis (MSTEP©): a randomized trial.

Clin Rehabil 2020 Jul 21;34(7):927-937. Epub 2020 May 21.

Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Objective: To estimate, among people with multiple sclerosis, the extent to which a personally tailored exercise programme (MSTEP©) resulted in greater improvements in exercise capacity and related outcomes over 12 months in comparison with general exercise guidelines.

Design: Two-group randomized trial.

Subjects: Ambulatory and sedentary.

Interventions: MSTEP©, a personally adapted exercise regimen done on most days including two days of high intensity exercise; guidelines recommending 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic and strength training two times per week.

Main Measures: Primary outcome was peak oxygen consumption (VO) at 12 months; secondary outcomes were composite measures of physical function, fatigue, and health-related quality of life.

Results: In total, 137 people were randomized, 66 were lost over 12 months leaving 71 with outcome data, 34 in MSTEP© group, and 37 in the Guideline group. Exercise enjoyment and confidence and exercise-induced fatigue predicted retention. There were no differences between groups on the proportion making a 10% increase in VO (27.1% MSTEP© vs 29.6% Guidelines; OR: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.23-3.08) by the 12 month assessment. The effect on fatigue was larger in the MSTEP© group than the Guideline groups (OR: 1.59; 95% CI: 0.93-2.74), the effect on physical function was more modest (OR: 1.35; 95% CI: 0.80-2.25), and null for health-related quality of life outcomes.

Conclusions: The disappointing exercise retention suggests that people with multiple sclerosis may not consider exercise important to their brain health. Either type of exercise resulted in stable exercise capacity over 1 year in those sticking with the programme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269215520923089DOI Listing
July 2020

From Baló's concentric sclerosis to multiple sclerosis: a series of 6 patients.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Jul 4;42:102078. Epub 2020 May 4.

Clinique de Sclérose en plaques du Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), and department of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Introduction: Baló's concentric sclerosis (BCS) is a rare CNS disorder characterized by alternating bands of demyelination on MRI. One of the main issues is its relationship with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Objectives: To describe 6 BCS patients. To review the risk of developing MS in BCS patients.

Methods: We retrospectively recorded clinical and radiological findings of 6 BCS patients and performed a review of the literature.

Results: Six patients (5 women) with a mean age of 25 years old were included. Main symptoms were hemiparesis/hemihypoesthesia. On MRI, two patients had a single BCS lesion and four had additional MS-like lesions. Alternating bands were usually more visible on DWI. A patient had reduced central perfusion and SWI hypointensity suggestive of a central vein. Oligoclonal bands were identified in 5/6 patients. After 7 years of follow-up, all patients achieved MS criteria with mild disability (mean EDSS 1.75; 0-4). Our literature review included 65 BCS patients from 30 studies: although CSF oligoclonal bands and the presence of additional MS lesions were associated with subsequent relapses, this was not significant.

Discussion/conclusion: Our series allows a detailed MRI description in BCS and gives a new insight into BCS evolution and its strong relationship with MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102078DOI Listing
July 2020

Early clinical markers of aggressive multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2020 05;143(5):1400-1413

CORe Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Patients with the 'aggressive' form of multiple sclerosis accrue disability at an accelerated rate, typically reaching Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) ≥ 6 within 10 years of symptom onset. Several clinicodemographic factors have been associated with aggressive multiple sclerosis, but less research has focused on clinical markers that are present in the first year of disease. The development of early predictive models of aggressive multiple sclerosis is essential to optimize treatment in this multiple sclerosis subtype. We evaluated whether patients who will develop aggressive multiple sclerosis can be identified based on early clinical markers. We then replicated this analysis in an independent cohort. Patient data were obtained from the MSBase observational study. Inclusion criteria were (i) first recorded disability score (EDSS) within 12 months of symptom onset; (ii) at least two recorded EDSS scores; and (iii) at least 10 years of observation time, based on time of last recorded EDSS score. Patients were classified as having 'aggressive multiple sclerosis' if all of the following criteria were met: (i) EDSS ≥ 6 reached within 10 years of symptom onset; (ii) EDSS ≥ 6 confirmed and sustained over ≥6 months; and (iii) EDSS ≥ 6 sustained until the end of follow-up. Clinical predictors included patient variables (sex, age at onset, baseline EDSS, disease duration at first visit) and recorded relapses in the first 12 months since disease onset (count, pyramidal signs, bowel-bladder symptoms, cerebellar signs, incomplete relapse recovery, steroid administration, hospitalization). Predictors were evaluated using Bayesian model averaging. Independent validation was performed using data from the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry. Of the 2403 patients identified, 145 were classified as having aggressive multiple sclerosis (6%). Bayesian model averaging identified three statistical predictors: age > 35 at symptom onset, EDSS ≥ 3 in the first year, and the presence of pyramidal signs in the first year. This model significantly predicted aggressive multiple sclerosis [area under the curve (AUC) = 0.80, 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 0.75, 0.84, positive predictive value = 0.15, negative predictive value = 0.98]. The presence of all three signs was strongly predictive, with 32% of such patients meeting aggressive disease criteria. The absence of all three signs was associated with a 1.4% risk. Of the 556 eligible patients in the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry cohort, 34 (6%) met criteria for aggressive multiple sclerosis. The combination of all three signs was also predictive in this cohort (AUC = 0.75, 95% CIs: 0.66, 0.84, positive predictive value = 0.15, negative predictive value = 0.97). Taken together, these findings suggest that older age at symptom onset, greater disability during the first year, and pyramidal signs in the first year are early indicators of aggressive multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa081DOI Listing
May 2020

Timing of high-efficacy therapy for multiple sclerosis: a retrospective observational cohort study.

Lancet Neurol 2020 04 18;19(4):307-316. Epub 2020 Mar 18.

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: High-efficacy therapies in multiple sclerosis are traditionally used after unsuccessful treatment with first-line disease modifying therapies. We hypothesised that early commencement of high-efficacy therapy would be associated with reduced long-term disability. We therefore aimed to compare long-term disability outcomes between patients who started high-efficacy therapies within 2 years of disease onset with those who started 4-6 years after disease onset.

Methods: In this retrospective international observational study, we obtained data from the MSBase registry and the Swedish MS registry, which prospectively collect patient data that are specific to multiple sclerosis as part of routine clinical care. We identified adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, with at least 6 years of follow-up since disease onset, and who started the high-efficacy therapy (rituximab, ocrelizumab, mitoxantrone, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab) either 0-2 years (early) or 4-6 years (late) after clinical disease onset. We matched patients in the early and late groups using propensity scores calculated on the basis of their baseline clinical and demographic data. The primary outcome was disability, measured with the Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS; an ordinal scale of 0-10, with higher scores indicating increased disability), at 6-10 years after disease onset, assessed with a linear mixed-effects model.

Findings: We identified 6149 patients in the MSBase registry who had been given high-efficacy therapy, with data collected between Jan 1, 1975, and April 13, 2017, and 2626 patients in the Swedish MS Registry, with data collected between Dec 10, 1997, and Sept 16, 2019. Of whom, 308 in the MSBase registry and 236 in the Swedish MS registry were eligible for inclusion. 277 (51%) of 544 patients commenced therapy early and 267 (49%) commenced therapy late. For the primary analysis, we matched 213 patients in the early treatment group with 253 in the late treatment group. At baseline, the mean EDSS score was 2·2 (SD 1·2) in the early group and 2·1 (SD 1·2) in the late group. Median follow-up time for matched patients was 7·8 years (IQR 6·7-8·9). In the sixth year after disease onset, the mean EDSS score was 2·2 (SD 1·6) in the early group compared with 2·9 (SD 1·8) in the late group (p<0·0001). This difference persisted throughout each year of follow-up until the tenth year after disease onset (mean EDSS score 2·3 [SD 1·8] vs 3·5 [SD 2·1]; p<0·0001), with a difference between groups of -0·98 (95% CI -1·51 to -0·45; p<0·0001, adjusted for proportion of time on any disease-modifying therapy) across the 6-10 year follow-up period.

Interpretation: High-efficacy therapy commenced within 2 years of disease onset is associated with less disability after 6-10 years than when commenced later in the disease course. This finding can inform decisions regarding optimal sequence and timing of multiple sclerosis therapy.

Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council Australia and MS Society UK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30067-3DOI Listing
April 2020

Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule regulates B lymphocyte migration across central nervous system barriers.

Sci Transl Med 2019 11;11(518)

Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC Canada.

The presence of B lymphocyte-associated oligoclonal immunoglobulins in the cerebrospinal fluid is a classic hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS). The clinical efficacy of anti-CD20 therapies supports a major role for B lymphocytes in MS development. Although activated oligoclonal populations of pathogenic B lymphocytes are able to traffic between the peripheral circulation and the central nervous system (CNS) in patients with MS, molecular players involved in this migration have not yet been elucidated. In this study, we demonstrated that activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM/CD166) identifies subsets of proinflammatory B lymphocytes and drives their transmigration across different CNS barriers in mouse and human. We also showcased that blocking ALCAM alleviated disease severity in animals affected by a B cell-dependent form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Last, we determined that the proportion of ALCAM B lymphocytes was increased in the peripheral blood and within brain lesions of patients with MS. Our findings indicate that restricting access to the CNS by targeting ALCAM on pathogenic B lymphocytes might represent a promising strategy for the development of next-generation B lymphocyte-targeting therapies for the treatment of MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aaw0475DOI Listing
November 2019

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

Assessing the risk of multiple sclerosis disease-modifying therapies.

Expert Rev Neurother 2019 07 26;19(7):695-706. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

c Neurology , Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) , Montreal , Quebec , Canada.

: The number of immunomodulatory options approved for multiple sclerosis has increased over the past years, resulting in a better control of the disease. Depending on disease activity, neurologists can now propose treatments with different levels of efficacy, from injectable and oral treatments with modest efficacy, to highly active immunosuppressants. Nevertheless, this gain in efficacy has come with an increase in the global burden of treatment-related adverse events. : The authors have reviewed extensively the existing literature to gain insight into the adverse events associated with disease modifying therapies, so as to help neurologists choose the right treatment for their patients. The authors classified and summarized the adverse events based on frequency, severity and relevance. : As the number and diversity of adverse events is expected to increase, careful surveillance of patients under treatment will be even more important. The characteristics of the MS population, i.e. mainly young women of childbearing age, who will remain treated for decades, and the need for serial administration of distinct treatments with different mechanisms of action highlights the importance of a comprehensive risk-benefit assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2019.1627201DOI Listing
July 2019

Association of Initial Disease-Modifying Therapy With Later Conversion to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

JAMA 2019 01;321(2):175-187

Institute for Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, Wales.

Importance: Within 2 decades of onset, 80% of untreated patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) convert to a phase of irreversible disability accrual termed secondary progressive MS. The association between disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), and this conversion has rarely been studied and never using a validated definition.

Objective: To determine the association between the use, the type of, and the timing of DMTs with the risk of conversion to secondary progressive MS diagnosed with a validated definition.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Cohort study with prospective data from 68 neurology centers in 21 countries examining patients with relapsing-remitting MS commencing DMTs (or clinical monitoring) between 1988-2012 with minimum 4 years' follow-up.

Exposures: The use, type, and timing of the following DMTs: interferon beta, glatiramer acetate, fingolimod, natalizumab, or alemtuzumab. After propensity-score matching, 1555 patients were included (last follow-up, February 14, 2017).

Main Outcome And Measure: Conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive MS.

Results: Of the 1555 patients, 1123 were female (mean baseline age, 35 years [SD, 10]). Patients initially treated with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta had a lower hazard of conversion to secondary progressive MS than matched untreated patients (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.61-0.81; P < .001; 5-year absolute risk, 12% [49 of 407] vs 27% [58 of 213]; median follow-up, 7.6 years [IQR, 5.8-9.6]), as did fingolimod (HR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.22-0.62; P < .001; 5-year absolute risk, 7% [6 of 85] vs 32% [56 of 174]; median follow-up, 4.5 years [IQR, 4.3-5.1]); natalizumab (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.43-0.86; P = .005; 5-year absolute risk, 19% [16 of 82] vs 38% [62 of 164]; median follow-up, 4.9 years [IQR, 4.4-5.8]); and alemtuzumab (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85; P = .009; 5-year absolute risk, 10% [4 of 44] vs 25% [23 of 92]; median follow-up, 7.4 years [IQR, 6.0-8.6]). Initial treatment with fingolimod, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab was associated with a lower risk of conversion than initial treatment with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.44-0.99; P = .046); 5-year absolute risk, 7% [16 of 235] vs 12% [46 of 380]; median follow-up, 5.8 years [IQR, 4.7-8.0]). The probability of conversion was lower when glatiramer acetate or interferon beta was started within 5 years of disease onset vs later (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.61-0.98; P = .03; 5-year absolute risk, 3% [4 of 120] vs 6% [2 of 38]; median follow-up, 13.4 years [IQR, 11-18.1]). When glatiramer acetate or interferon beta were escalated to fingolimod, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab within 5 years vs later, the HR was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.66-0.88; P < .001; 5-year absolute risk, 8% [25 of 307] vs 14% [46 of 331], median follow-up, 5.3 years [IQR], 4.6-6.1).

Conclusions And Relevance: Among patients with relapsing-remitting MS, initial treatment with fingolimod, alemtuzumab, or natalizumab was associated with a lower risk of conversion to secondary progressive MS vs initial treatment with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta. These findings, considered along with these therapies' risks, may help inform decisions about DMT selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.20588DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6439772PMC
January 2019

A retrospective claims analysis: Compliance and discontinuation rates among Canadian patients with multiple sclerosis treated with disease-modifying therapies.

PLoS One 2019 14;14(1):e0210417. Epub 2019 Jan 14.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Dorval, Quebec, Canada.

Background: Compliance to disease modifying therapy (DMT) is associated with a reduced risk of relapse, lower healthcare resource utilization, and improved health-related quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Our objective was to assess the compliance and discontinuation rates of fingolimod relative to other oral, injectable, and infusible DMTs available on the market at the time of the study in Canada in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

Methods And Findings: We conducted a retrospective claims analysis. Patients with RRMS with ≥ 1 prescription for each DMT were included. Compliance (medication possession ratio of ≥ 80%) and discontinuation (gap > 30 days from the end of the index prescription) were calculated at the 6-, 12- and 24-month time points. Compliance with fingolimod at the 6-, 12- and 24-month time points was 75%, 75% and 70%, respectively; compared with DMF [70% (P < 0.001), 68% (P < 0.001), and 56% (P < 0.001), respectively], and BRACE [53% (P < 0.001), 47% (P < 0.001), and 35% (P < 0.001), respectively]. Compliance with fingolimod was comparable to teriflunomide at each time point, but was higher compared to natalizumab [70% versus 57% (P < 0.001)] at the 24-month time point. At the 6-, 12- and 24-month time points, patients on fingolimod had the lowest discontinuation rate (26%, 24%, and 29%, respectively) compared to BRACE [49% (P < 0.001), 44% (P < 0.001), and 57% (P < 0.001)], respectively], and natalizumab [33% (P < 0.001), 29% (P < 0.001), and 45% (P < 0.001), respectively], and was similar to teriflunomide (26%, 25%, and 31%, respectively).

Conclusions: The compliance rate in fingolimod treated patients at the 24 month time point was higher than that observed in natalizumab treated patients. The discontinuation rate was lower with fingolimod compared to other DMTs at all time points but was similar to teriflunomide.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210417PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6331106PMC
October 2019

Comparison of fingolimod, dimethyl fumarate and teriflunomide for multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2019 04 13;90(4):458-468. Epub 2019 Jan 13.

Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Objective: Oral immunotherapies have become a standard treatment in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Direct comparison of their effect on relapse and disability is needed.

Methods: We identified all patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treated with teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate or fingolimod, with minimum 3-month treatment persistence and disability follow-up in the global MSBase cohort study. Patients were matched using propensity scores. Three pairwise analyses compared annualised relapse rates and hazards of disability accumulation, disability improvement and treatment discontinuation (analysed with negative binomial models and weighted conditional survival models, with pairwise censoring).

Results: The eligible cohorts consisted of 614 (teriflunomide), 782 (dimethyl fumarate) or 2332 (fingolimod) patients, followed over the median of 2.5 years. Annualised relapse rates were lower on fingolimod compared with teriflunomide (0.18 vs 0.24; p=0.05) and dimethyl fumarate (0.20 vs 0.26; p=0.01) and similar on dimethyl fumarate and teriflunomide (0.19 vs 0.22; p=0.55). No differences in disability accumulation (p≥0.59) or improvement (p≥0.14) were found between the therapies. In patients with ≥3-month treatment persistence, subsequent discontinuations were less likely on fingolimod than teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate (p<0.001). Discontinuation rates on teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate were similar (p=0.68).

Conclusion: The effect of fingolimod on relapse frequency was superior to teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate. The effect of the three oral therapies on disability outcomes was similar during the initial 2.5 years on treatment. Persistence on fingolimod was superior to the two comparator drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2018-319831DOI Listing
April 2019

CD70 defines a subset of proinflammatory and CNS-pathogenic T1/T17 lymphocytes and is overexpressed in multiple sclerosis.

Cell Mol Immunol 2019 07 11;16(7):652-665. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, and Centre de Recherche du CHUM (CRCHUM), Montréal, QC, H2X0A9, Canada.

CD70 is the unique ligand of CD27 and is expressed on immune cells only upon activation. Therefore, engagement of the costimulatory CD27/CD70 pathway is solely dependent on upregulation of CD70. However, the T cell-intrinsic effect and function of human CD70 remain underexplored. Herein, we describe that CD70 expression distinguishes proinflammatory CD4 T lymphocytes that display an increased potential to migrate into the central nervous system (CNS). Upregulation of CD70 on CD4 T lymphocytes is induced by TGF-β1 and TGF-β3, which promote a pathogenic phenotype. In addition, CD70 is associated with a T1 and T17 profile of lymphocytes and is important for T-bet and IFN-γ expression by both T helper subtypes. Moreover, adoptive transfer of CD70CD4 T lymphocytes induced less severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) disease than transfer of WT CD4 T lymphocytes. CD70CD4 T lymphocytes are found in the CNS during acute autoimmune inflammation in humans and mice, highlighting CD70 as both an immune marker and an important costimulator of highly pathogenic proinflammatory T1/T17 lymphocytes infiltrating the CNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41423-018-0198-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6804668PMC
July 2019

Incidence of pregnancy and disease-modifying therapy exposure trends in women with multiple sclerosis: A contemporary cohort study.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 Feb 3;28:235-243. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Exposure to disease-modifying therapy (DMT) during early pregnancy in women with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) may be increasing.

Objective: To retrospectively determine incidence of pregnancy, DMT exposure and pregnancy outcomes in women with RRMS.

Methods: We identified all women with RRMS aged 15-45 years in the MSBase Registry between 2005-2016. Annualised pregnancy incidence rates were calculated using Poisson regression models. DMT exposures and pregnancy outcomes were assessed.

Results: Of 9,098 women meeting inclusion criteria, 1,178 (13%) women recorded 1,521 pregnancies. The annualised incidence rate of pregnancy was 0.042 (95% CI 0.040, 0.045). A total of 635 (42%) reported pregnancies were conceived on DMT, increasing from 27% in 2006 to 62% in 2016. The median duration of DMT exposure during pregnancy was 30 days (IQR: 9, 50). There were a higher number of induced abortions on FDA pregnancy class C/D drugs compared with pregnancy class B and no DMT (p = 0.010); but no differences in spontaneous abortions, term or preterm births.

Conclusions: We report low pregnancy incidence rates, with increasing number of pregnancies conceived on DMT over the past 12-years. The median duration of DMT exposure in pregnancy was relatively short at one month.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.01.003DOI Listing
February 2019

Silent lesions on MRI imaging - Shifting goal posts for treatment decisions in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2018 10 20;24(12):1569-1577. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

Department of Neurology, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW, Australia/ School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.

Background: The current best practice suggests yearly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor treatment response in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Objective: To evaluate the current practice of clinicians changing MS treatment based on subclinical new MRI lesions alone.

Methods: Using MSBase, an international MS patient registry with MRI data, we analysed the probability of treatment change among patients with clinically silent new MRI lesions.

Results: A total of 8311 MRI brain scans of 4232 patients were identified. Around 26.9% (336/1247) MRIs with one new T2 lesion were followed by disease-modifying therapy (DMT) change, increasing to 50.2% (129/257) with six new T2 lesions. DMT change was twice as likely with new T1 contrast enhancing compared to new T2 lesions odds ratio (OR): 2.43, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.00-2.96 vs OR: 1.26 (95% CI: 1.22-1.29). DMT change with new MRI lesions occurred most frequently with 'injectable' DMTs. The probability of switching therapy was greater only after high-efficacy therapies became available in 2007 (after, OR: 1.43, 95% CI: 1.28-1.59 vs before, OR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.520-1.88).

Conclusion: MS clinicians rely increasingly on MRI alone in their treatment decisions, utilizing low thresholds (1 new T2 lesion) for optimizing MS therapy. This signals a shift towards no evidence of disease activity (NEDA)-3 since high-efficacy therapies became available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458518798147DOI Listing
October 2018

Impairment, disability and fatigue in multiple sclerosis.

Caspian J Intern Med 2018 ;9(3):244-251

School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Background: Identifying the predictors of pain is important for both health professionals and researchers, because pain has repeatedly been found to be a strong predictor of activity limitations and participation restrictions. The objective of this study was to determine the predictors of pain presence and severity in a large, well-designed sample of community dwelling individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. A center-stratified random sample including 188 persons with MS were recruited from three major MS clinics in the Greater Montreal, Canada. Main outcomes included pain prevalence and severity. Predictor variables included depression, anxiety, perceived health status, fatigue, sleep problems, and perceived cognitive deficits. Participants completed three questionnaires: the first asked about the socio-demographic and clinical information of the subjects, the second assessed the pain characteristics of the subjects, and the third covered the predictor variables.

Results: The prevalence of pain in our sample was 42%. MS- related disability was found to be in the main predictor for both pain presence and intensity. Fatigue also was a main contributor to pain presence. The results of this study also showed that pain was associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and perceived cognitive deficits, and diminished perceived health status.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicated that pain is a common symptom among people with MS. Pain presence was predicted by MS-related disability and fatigue, while pain intensity was only predicted by MS severity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.22088/cjim.9.3.244DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121335PMC
January 2018

Predictors of relapse and disability progression in MS patients who discontinue disease-modifying therapy.

J Neurol Sci 2018 08 2;391:72-76. Epub 2018 Jun 2.

Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: Discontinuation of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS is common. MSBase, a large global observational registry, affords a unique opportunity to investigate predictors of 'post-DMT' relapses and confirmed disability progression (CDP) in a diverse group of patients exposed to different DMTs.

Materials/methods: Main inclusion criteria: clinician-confirmed MS diagnosis (2010 McDonald criteria); age ≥ 18 at index DMT start; ≥12 months on index DMT prior to discontinuation; ≥24 months of follow-up post-discontinuation; did not restart DMT for ≥6 months. Predictors of time to first relapse and 3-month CDP were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age, gender, baseline EDSS, EDSS stability and relapse-free period for ≥1 year prior to discontinuation, calendar epoch, index DMT and reason for discontinuation.

Results: 4842 patients (74.2% female) from 20 MSBase Centers met our inclusion criteria. 3556 (73%) discontinued one of IFNβ preparations, 849 (18%) - glatiramer acetate, 308 (6%) - natalizumab and 129 (3%) - fingolimod; other DMTs were excluded because too few records were available. Overall post-discontinuation annualized relapse rate (95% CI) was 0.224 (0.219, 0.229) and CDP rate was 8.23 (7.72, 8.76) per 100 person-years. Risk of post-DMT relapse was higher in younger patients, female patients, those with moderate disability and a relapse within 1 year of discontinuation. Hazard of CDP increased with increasing disability at baseline and disease progression within 3 years prior to stopping DMT. Of all the DMTs, only natalizumab was associated with increased risk of both post-DMT relapse and CDP.

Conclusions: Knowledge of post-DMT relapse and disability progression rates and predictors of post-DMT disease activity allows for a more informed discussion of DMT discontinuation in those patients who are considering this option.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2018.06.001DOI Listing
August 2018

Association of Inflammation and Disability Accrual in Patients With Progressive-Onset Multiple Sclerosis.

JAMA Neurol 2018 11;75(11):1407-1415

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Importance: The role of inflammatory disease activity as a determinant of disability in progressive-onset multiple sclerosis (MS) remains contested.

Objective: To examine the association of superimposed relapses in progressive-onset MS on disease outcomes.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Observational cohort study from MSBase, a prospectively collected, international database. Data were collected between January 1995 and February 2017. Analyses began in February 2017. From 44 449 patients at time of extraction, 1419 eligible patients (31.9%) were identified for analysis. Inclusion criteria consisted of primary progressive MS (PPMS) or progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS), adult-onset disease, and minimum data set (including ≥3 visits with disability recorded, ≥3 months between second and last visit). Data were analyzed using multivariable regression models (Andersen-Gill) with mixed effects. Two sensitivity analyses to exclude both relapse-related disability progression and bout-onset progressive MS were performed.

Exposures: Grouped according to presence or absence of relapse, defined as an acute episode of clinical worsening. Quantifiable disability change or correlation on imaging was not required to confirm relapse.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Cumulative hazard of disability progression.

Results: Patients with PRMS were younger than those with PPMS (mean [SD] age, 46 [15] vs 51 [10] years, Cohen d = 0.40) and demonstrated a mean lower Expanded Disability Status Scale score (mean [SD] score, 4.0 [3] vs 4.5 [2.5], Cohen d = 0.28) at inclusion. The ratio of men to women was similar in the PRMS and PPMS groups (252:301 vs 394:472). The overall mean (SD) age was 48 (11) years for men and 50 (10) years for women. Likelihood of confirmed disability progression was lower in patients with superimposed relapses (hazard ratio [HR], 0.83; 95% CI, 0.74-0.94; P = .003). Proportion of follow-up time spent on disease-modifying therapy significantly reduced the hazard of confirmed disability progression in the cohort with relapse (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99; P = .01) but not in those without relapse (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.99-1.05; P = .26). When accounting for relapse-related progression, the association of disease-modifying therapy in the cohort with superimposed relapse was no longer observed (HR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.96-1.24; P = .16).

Conclusions And Relevance: In progressive-onset MS, superimposed relapses are associated with a lower risk of confirmed disability progression. This is most likely attributed to the association of disease-modifying therapy with the prevention of relapse-related disability accrual in patients with superimposed relapse. These findings suggest that inflammatory relapses are an important and modifiable determinant of disability accrual in progressive-onset disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.2109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6248114PMC
November 2018

Common variation near IRF6 is associated with IFN-β-induced liver injury in multiple sclerosis.

Nat Genet 2018 08 16;50(8):1081-1085. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

Division of Translational Therapeutics, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system treated with disease-modifying therapies, including the biologic, interferon-β (IFN-β). Up to 60% of IFN-β-exposed MS patients develop abnormal biochemical liver test results, and 1 in 50 experiences drug-induced liver injury. Since genomic variation contributes to other forms of drug-induced liver injury, we aimed to identify biomarkers of IFN-β-induced liver injury using a two-stage genome-wide association study. The rs2205986 variant, previously linked to differential expression of IRF6, surpassed genome-wide significance in the combined two-stage analysis (P = 2.3 × 10, odds ratio = 8.3, 95% confidence interval = 3.6-19.2). Analysis of an independent cohort of IFN-β-treated MS patients identified via electronic medical records showed that rs2205986 was also associated with increased peak levels of aspartate aminotransferase (P = 7.6 × 10) and alkaline phosphatase (P = 4.9 × 10). We show that these findings may be applicable to predicting IFN-β-induced liver injury, offering insight into its safer use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0168-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513312PMC
August 2018

Thalamic and hippocampal volume associated with memory functions in multiple sclerosis.

Brain Cogn 2018 08 8;125:61-68. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, CP 8888, succ. Centre-ville, Montreal H3C 3P8, Canada; Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, 900 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3H8, Canada. Electronic address:

Objectives: Although multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been considered to primarily affect white matter, it is now recognized that cognitive deficits in MS are also related to neocortical, thalamic and hippocampal damage. However, the association between damage to these structures and memory deficits in MS is unclear. This study examines whether MS patients with cognitive impairment have a reduction of hippocampal and/or thalamic volumes compared to cognitively intact patients, and whether these volume reductions correlate with various aspects of memory function.

Methodology: Volumetric MRI measures of thalamus and hippocampus of forty-one patients with MS were performed. The patients were divided in two groups depending on the presence or absence of cognitive impairment, based on their neuropsychological tests scores.

Results: Right hippocampal volume was found to be associated with learning, and the left thalamic volume was found to predict performance in verbal memory. Cognitively impaired patients had a tendency to have a reduced left thalamic volume compared to cognitively intact patients.

Conclusions: This study does not support a direct relationship between hippocampal atrophy and verbal memory. These results add to the growing evidence of the involvement of thalamus in cognitive impairment in MS and its association with verbal memory deficits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2018.05.013DOI Listing
August 2018

The impact of treatment adherence on clinical and economic outcomes in multiple sclerosis: Real world evidence from Alberta, Canada.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2017 Nov 6;18:218-224. Epub 2017 Oct 6.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., 385, boulev. Bouchard, CDN, Dorval, Quebec, Canada H9S 1A9. Electronic address:

Background: Approximately 1 in 400 Albertans has multiple sclerosis (MS). The current study objective was to determine the real-world impact of adherence to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) on healthcare utilization and costs among MS patients utilizing administrative data from the Alberta health system in Canada.

Methods: MS patients were identified using a validated case definition (≥ 1 inpatient record or ≥ 5 practitioner claims within 2 years) and the study index DMT was defined as the first claim for a DMT between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2014. Treatment adherence was calculated using medication possession ratio (MPR), and patients with MPR ≥ 80% were considered adherent; healthcare utilization and costs were explored using multivariable negative binominal regression and logistic regression models.

Results: The majority of the 2864 MS patients identified were females, aged 35-55 years old. Overall, 66% of patients were adherent. Compared to non-adherent patients, adherent patients had fewer ambulatory care visits (all-cause: 8.8 vs 10.9, p = 0.0012; MS-related: 4.3 vs 5.3; p = 0.001), physician visits (all-cause: 15.1 vs 18.2, p = 0.0001; MS-related: 3.6 vs 4.4; p = 0.0001), and hospitalizations (all-cause: 5.2% vs 10.2%, p < 0.0001; MS-related: 1.2% vs 2.5%, p = 0.0088). After adjusting for potential confounding factors adherent patients had approximately 20% less physician visits (MS-related: IRR 0.82 (0.79,0.86), p < 0.0001; all-cause: IRR 0.83 (0.81,0.85), p < 0.0001) and ambulatory care visits (MS-related IRR 0.80 (0.77,0.84), p < 0.0001; all-cause: IRR 0.82 (0.80,0.84), p < 0.0001) and approximately 50% fewer hospitalizations (MS-related: OR 0.50 (0.28-0.89), p < 0.0001; all-cause: OR 0.48 (0.35-0.64), p < 0.0001) than non-adherent patients.

Conclusions: The current study found a significant impact of non-adherence to MS therapy on increased health system utilization. These findings demonstrate the importance of treatment adherence on clinical decision-making for patients with MS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2017.10.001DOI Listing
November 2017