Relapsing White Matter Disease and Subclinical Optic Neuropathy: From the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Case Conference Proceedings
A 16-year-old adolescent boy presented with recurrent episodes of weakness and numbness. Brain MRI demonstrated subcortical, juxtacortical, and periventricular white matter T2 hyperintensities with gadolinium enhancement. CSF was positive for oligoclonal bands that were not present in serum. Despite treatment with steroids, IV immunoglobulins, plasmapheresis, and rituximab, he continued to have episodes of weakness and numbness and new areas of T2 hyperintensity on imaging. Neuro-ophthalmologic examination revealed a subclinical optic neuropathy with predominant involvement of the papillomacular bundle. Genetic evaluation and brain biopsy led to an unexpected diagnosis.
Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Patients with Pre-existing Neurologic Autoimmune Disorders
PURPOSE OF REVIEW/OBJECTIVE:The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for oncologic indications is associated with immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Patients with pre-existing autoimmune diseases are at increased risk of irAEs and have largely been excluded from clinical trials of ICIs. Therefore, there is limited data on the safety of safety of ICIs in patients with pre-existing neurologic autoimmune diseases (nAIDs) such as myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis. This review aims to synthesize the literature on the post-marketing experience with ICI in patients with pre-existing nAID and to discuss possible strategies for mitigating the risk of post-ICI nAID relapses. RECENT FINDINGS/RESULTS:Patients with pre-existing myasthenia gravis (MG), myositis, and paraneoplastic encephalitis appear highly susceptible to neurologic relapses of their underlying neurologic disorder following ICI initiation; these relapses can cause considerable morbidity and mortality. In patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), the risk and severity of MS relapses following ICI appears to be relatively lower compared to MG. Preliminary evidence suggests that older MS patients with no recent focal neuroinflammatory activity may be safely treated with ICI. Among the several case reports of ICI in patients with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), neurologic worsening was only recorded in one patient who was in the acute phase of GBS at the time of ICI start. Initiating an ICI in a patient with pre-existing nAID involves a complex risk-benefit discussion between the patient, their oncologist, and neurologist. Relevant issues to consider before ICI include the choice of disease-modifying therapy for nAID (if any) and strategies for promptly identifying and managing nAID relapses should they occur. Currently, the literature consists mainly of case reports and case series, subject to publication bias. Prospective studies of ICI in patients with nAID are needed to improve the level of evidence.
African American patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) have higher proportions of CD19+ and CD20+ B-cell lineage cells in their cerebrospinal fluid than White MS patients
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:To compare proportions of B-cell lineage CD19+ and CD20+ cells in CSF of African-American (AA) and White (W) patients with MS. BACKGROUND:AA MS patients are more likely to have oligoclonal bands in CSF, higher IgG index in CSF, and higher circulating plasmablasts in blood than W MS patients. It is unknown whether the proportion of B-cells in CSF differs between AA and W patients in MS. METHODS:Demographics, disease-related information, treatment history were retrospectively collected on patients with MS who self-identified as AA or W and underwent flow cytometry of CSF during diagnostic work-up. Proportion of B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes, NK cells, monocytes, and plasma cells were analyzed with flow cytometry. RESULTS:20 AA and 56 W MS patients fulfilled our inclusion criteria. The groups had similar demographics, CSF cell counts, protein and glucose CSF concentrations, and oligoclonal band number. IgG index was higher in AA compared to W (1.08 vs. 0.85, p = 0.031). AA had higher proportions of CD19+ (5.46 % AA vs. 2.26 % W, p = 0.006) and CD20+ (4.64 % AA vs. 1.91 % W, p = 0.004) cells but did not significantly differ in proportion of CD4+, CD8+, CD38+ bright B-cells, NK cells and monocytes. CONCLUSIONS:B-cells are overrepresented in the CSF of African American patients with MS relative to Whites.
No Increase in Symptoms Toward the End of the Ocrelizumab Infusion Cycle in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: Symptom Burden on Ocrelizumab: A Longitudinal Study (SymBOLS)
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES/UNASSIGNED:Some patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) receiving ocrelizumab (OCR) report worsening symptoms toward the end of the 6-month infusion cycle ('wearing off'). The objective of our study was to comprehensively assess changes in symptom burden across 2 consecutive OCR infusion cycles. METHODS/UNASSIGNED:SYMptom Burden on Ocrelizumab, a Longitudinal Study (SymBOLS; NCT04855617) was an investigator-initiated, 2-center study of patients with MS starting or receiving OCR. Patients' symptoms were assessed with NeuroQoL short forms, SymptoMScreen, and Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire at the start-cycle, mid-cycle, and end-cycle time points in each of the 2 infusion cycles. Symptom scores at the 3 time points within each cycle were compared with repeated-measures ANOVA or the Friedman rank-sum test for non-normal variables. The proportions of patients with a meaningful symptomatic change from the start to the end of each infusion cycle were calculated, and patients whose symptoms improved, worsened, and stayed the same from the start to the end of the cycle were compared with respect to demographic and clinical characteristics. RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:One hundred three patients with MS provided longitudinal data for analyses (mean age [SD]: 46.7 [12.2] years, 68% female, 33% non-White, disease duration: 15.5  years, 41% with the Extended Disability Status Scale score >3). On a group level, NeuroQoL and SymptoMScreen scores mostly remained stable or even improved slightly toward the end of each cycle. On an individual level, symptoms remained unchanged across either cycle for most patients, and meaningful symptom worsening from the start to the end of the cycle was no more common than improvement. Meaningful change in symptoms in both cycles was very rare and generally in the direction of improvement toward the end cycle. Despite the lack of evidence for symptom worsening with a longer time from infusion, 54% of patients endorsed feeling of "wearing off" at least sometimes, most commonly as an increase in fatigue. DISCUSSION/UNASSIGNED:Our prospective study failed to uncover evidence for the worsening of symptoms with a longer time from OCR infusion. These findings cast doubt on the existence of wearing off as a physiologic phenomenon in OCR-treated patients with MS. The perception of wearing off is likely the result of natural fluctuations in MS symptoms and attribution bias.
Cramps, Spasms, and Spasticity(Website)
Pearls and Oy-sters: CSF1R-Related Leukoencephalopathy With Spinal Cord Lesions Mimicking Multiple Sclerosis
CSF1R-related leukoencephalopathy is an autosomal dominant neurological disorder causing microglial dysfunction with a wide range of neurologic complications, including motor dysfunction, dementia and seizures. This case report highlights an unusual presentation of CSF1R-related leukoencephalopathy with radiographic spinal cord involvement initially diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. The case highlights the importance of considering adult-onset neurogenetic disorders in the setting of white matter disease. Genetic testing provides a confirmatory diagnosis for an expanding number of adult-onset leukoencephalopathies and informs therapeutic decision-making.
Risk of new disease activity in patients with multiple sclerosis who continue or discontinue disease-modifying therapies (DISCOMS): a multicentre, randomised, single-blind, phase 4, non-inferiority trial
BACKGROUND:Multiple sclerosis typically has onset in young adults and new disease activity diminishes with age. Most clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis have not enrolled individuals older than 55 years. Observational studies suggest that risk of return of disease activity after discontinuation of a disease-modifying therapies is greatest in younger patients with recent relapses or MRI activity. We aimed to determine whether risk of disease recurrence in older patients with no recent disease activity who discontinue disease-modifying therapy is increased compared to those who remain on disease-modifying therapy. METHODS:DISCOMS was a multicentre, randomised, controlled, rater-blinded, phase 4, non-inferiority trial. Individuals with multiple sclerosis of any subtype, 55 years or older, with no relapse within the past 5 years or new MRI lesion in the past 3 years while continuously taking an approved disease-modifying therapy were enrolled at 19 multiple sclerosis centres in the USA. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1 by site) with an interactive response technology system to either continue or discontinue disease-modifying therapy. Relapse assessors and MRI readers were masked to patient assignment; patients and treating investigators were not masked. The primary outcome was percentage of individuals with a new disease event, defined as a multiple sclerosis relapse or a new or expanding T2 brain MRI lesion, over 2 years. We assessed whether discontinuation of disease-modifying therapy was non-inferior to continuation using a non-inferiority, intention-to-treat analysis of all randomly assigned patients, with a predefined non-inferiority margin of 8%. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03073603, and is completed. FINDINGS/RESULTS:259 participants were enrolled between May 22, 2017, and Feb 3, 2020; 128 (49%) were assigned to the continue group and 131 (51%) to the discontinue group. Five participants were lost to follow-up (continue n=1, discontinue n=4). Six (4·7%) of 128 participants in the continue group and 16 (12·2%) of 131 in the discontinue group had a relapse or a new or expanding brain MRI lesion within 2 years. The difference in event rates was 7·5 percentage points (95% CI 0·6-15·0). Similar numbers of participants had adverse events (109 [85%] of 128 vs 104 [79%] of 131) and serious adverse events (20 [16%] vs 18 [14%]), but more adverse events (422 vs 347) and serious adverse events (40 vs 30) occurred in the discontinue group. The most common adverse events were upper respiratory infections (20 events in 19 [15%] participants in the continue group and 37 events in 30 [23%] participants in the discontinue group). Three participants in the continue group and four in the discontinue group had treatment-related adverse events, of which one in each group was a serious adverse event (multiple sclerosis relapse requiring admission to hospital). One participant in the continue group and two in the discontinue group died; no deaths were deemed to be related to treatment. INTERPRETATION/CONCLUSIONS:We were unable to reject the null hypothesis and could not conclude whether disease-modifying therapy discontinuation is non-inferior to continuation in patients older than 55 years with multiple sclerosis and no recent relapse or new MRI activity. Discontinuation of disease-modifying therapy might be a reasonable option in patients older than 55 years who have stable multiple sclerosis, but might be associated with a small increased risk of new MRI activity. FUNDING/BACKGROUND:Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Two cases of MT-ND5-related mitochondrial disorder misdiagnosed as seronegative neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder [Case Report]
Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is an autoimmune disease primarily affecting the optic nerves and spinal cord, which is usually associated with anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies. Here, we present two individuals who were negative for anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies and were initially diagnosed with seronegative NMOSD. Each patient's clinical course and radiographic features raised suspicion for an alternative disease process. Both individuals were found to have pathogenic variants of MT-ND5, encoding subunit 5 of mitochondrial complex I, ultimately leading to a revised diagnosis of a primary mitochondrial disorder. These cases illustrate the importance of biochemical and genetic testing in atypical cases of NMOSD.
Three-dimensional multi-parameter brain mapping using MR fingerprinting
The purpose of this study was to develop and test a 3D multi-parameter MR fingerprinting (MRF) method for brain imaging applications. The subject cohort included 5 healthy volunteers, repeatability tests done on 2 healthy volunteers and tested on two multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. A 3D-MRF imaging technique capable of quantifying T 1 , T 2 and T 1Ï was used. The imaging sequence was tested in standardized phantoms and 3D-MRF brain imaging with multiple shots (1, 2 and 4) in healthy human volunteers and MS patients. Quantitative parametric maps for T 1 , T 2 , T 1Ï , were generated. Mean gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) ROIs were compared for each mapping technique, Bland-Altman plots and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) were used to assess repeatability and Student T-tests were used to compare results in MS patients. Standardized phantom studies demonstrated excellent agreement with reference T 1 /T 2/ T 1Ï mapping techniques. This study demonstrates that the 3D-MRF technique is able to simultaneously quantify T 1 , T 2 and T 1Ï for tissue property characterization in a clinically feasible scan time. This multi-parametric approach offers increased potential to detect and differentiate brain lesions and to better test imaging biomarker hypotheses for several neurological diseases, including MS.
Volumetric brain changes in MOGAD: A cross-sectional and longitudinal comparative analysis
BACKGROUND:Relatively little is known about how global and regional brain volumes changes in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD) compare with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), and healthy controls (HC). OBJECTIVE:To compare global and regional brain volumes in MOGAD, MS, NMOSD, and HC cross-sectionally as well as longitudinally in a subset of patients. METHODS:We retrospectively reviewed all adult MOGAD and NMOSD patients with brain MRI performed in stable remission and compared them with MS patients and HC. Volumetric parameters were assessed using the FDA-approved icobrain software. adjusted for age and sex. RESULTS:Twenty-four MOGAD, 47 NMOSD, 40 MS patients, and 37 HC were included in the cross-sectional analyses. Relative to HC, the age-adjusted whole brain (WB) volume was significantly lower in patients with MOGAD (p=0.0002), NMOSD (p=0.042), and MS (p=0.01). Longitudinal analysis of a subset of 8 MOGAD, 22 NMOSD, and 34 MS patients showed a reduction in the WB and cortical gray matter (CGM) volumes over time in all three disease groups, without statistically significant differences between groups. The MOGAD group had a greater loss of thalamic volume compared to MS (p=0.028) and NMOSD (p=0.023) and a greater loss of hippocampal volumes compared to MS (p=0.007). CONCLUSIONS:Age-adjusted WB volume loss was evident in all neuroinflammatory conditions relative to HC in cross-sectional comparisons. In longitudinal analyses, MOGAD patients had a higher thalamic atrophy rate relative to MS and NMOSD, and a higher hippocampal atrophy rate relative to MS. Larger studies are needed to validate these findings and to investigate their clinical implications.