BERLIN – The presence of infratentorial and deep white matter lesions early in the course of relapse-onset multiple sclerosis was associated with high levels of disability 30 years later in a study looking at MRI predictors.
Univariate predictors of an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of more than 3.5, which is indicative of impaired mobility after 30 years, were the presence of an IT lesion at baseline, with an odds ratio (OR) of 12.4 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.35-3.46; P less than .001), the presence of a deep white matter (DWM) lesion 1 year after presenting with clinically-isolated syndrome (CIS; OR = 10.65; 95% CI, 2.84-38.84; P less than .001), and the presence of an infratentorial (IT) lesion 1 year post CIS presentation (OR = 11.1; 95% CI, 3.31-37.22; P less than .001). At 5 years after a CIS presentation, the EDSS score, EDSS score change, and a DWM lesion score of more than 5 were indicative of worse disability after 30 years.
There was no significant association with age of onset, gender, CIS type, baseline EDSS, or disease duration, study investigator Karen Chung, MBBS, reported at the annual congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.
“As we know, approximately 85% of people with MS initially present with a clinically isolated syndrome,” said Dr. Chung, a clinical research associate at thein the UCL Institute of Neurology in London. She added that the long-term prognosis after CIS is very variable, with some patients developing little detectable disability over time, while others may experience considerable decline.
There have been few studies examining whether there are any MRI parameters that might help predict patients’ long-term outcomes, so the aim of the study Dr. Chung presented was to see if there were any MRI parameters that might be predictive of clinical outcome 30 years after the onset of CIS.
Dr. Chung and her coauthors examined data on 120 of 132 individuals from the First London CIS Cohort who were prospectively recruited between 1984 and 1987 and had known outcomes. They looked at prospectively gathered MRI data and EDSS data at baseline, 5, 10, 14, 20, and 30 years. MRI data were obtained for 1 year after the CIS event, and data on the lowest EDSS score after the CIS event were retrospectively determined from patient notes or recall. The cohort was predominantly female (61%), with a mean of 31.5 years at CIS onset. Around half (52%) presented with optic neuritis, 27% with a spinal cord syndrome, and 20% with a brainstem syndrome. The high percentage of patients presenting with optic neuritis may be due to the fact that one of the recruiting centers was a specialist eye hospital, Dr. Chung noted later during discussion.
The 2010 McDonald Criteria were used to determine whether patients had CIS, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), or death related to MS.
“We looked at all the MRIs available to us and quantified the T2 lesion count for whole brain as well as by location,” Dr. Chung explained. The locations considered were juxtacortical, periventricular, infratentorial, and deep white matter.
“I think it is important to remind ourselves that we have come a long way with MRI technology in the 30 years timespan,” she added, noting that there was “clearly a difference in the quality.”
Clinical outcomes at 30 years were as follows: 80 patients (67%) developed MS, of whom 35 (44%) had RRMS, 26 (33%) had SPMS, 15 (20%) had died as a result of MS, and 3 (4%) had died for unknown or unrelated causes. Of the 40 patients (33%) who remained with CIS, 10 (25%) died without developing MS.
“This is a largely untreated cohort where, within the 80 people with MS, 11 (14%) were treated with a DMT [disease-modifying treatment] at some point,” Dr. Chung reported. All DMTs used were first-line injectable agents, she observed.
EDSS scores could be obtained for 107 patients. At 30 years, people with low EDSS scores were those who remained with CIS or RRMS, and as EDSS scores increased, the severity of MS increased.
“Overall, T2 lesions were better predictors of 30-year outcome than EDSS,” Dr. Chung said. For combinations of predictors, patients who had at least one IT and one DWM lesion within 1 year of a CIS had a higher probability (94%) of having an EDSS score of more than 3.5 at 30 years than when compared with those with neither lesion (13%) and those with one DWM but no IT lesions (49%).
Looking at the best independent predictors up to 5 years, the predicted probability of an EDSS score of more than 3.5 if there were no IT lesions and fewer than five DWM lesions was 18%. But if there were no IT but more than 5 DWM lesions, the probability of disability at 30 years rose to 52%. The probabilities rose even higher to 63% if there was one or more IT and five or less DWM lesions and 90% if there was one or more IT and more than five DWM lesions.
“In this cohort, the presence of early infratentorial and deep white matter lesions following a CIS are associated with higher level of disability 30 years later,” Dr. Chung concluded. “Early predictive models can add information to risk-benefit stratification.”
During discussion, one delegate expressed concerns that these data were “not generalizable to the current situation.” This was a cohort of patients that largely wasn’t treated or if they were, treatment was delayed by more than 10 years. These data were interesting “from a historical perspective,” he argued, “but I don’t understand, how in the absence of contemporary therapies this is applicable in a way that will allow us to use this information to make prognoses for the future.”
Dr. Chung agreed, noting that this was more of a natural history study. “However, I think it is applicable in clinical practice in my opinion.
“When you have a patient presenting with a CIS, at the time of diagnosis, especially now when we can diagnose patients earlier with the new 2017 criteria, it will be helpful for the patient and ourselves to apply some of the information I presented to help perhaps in aiding decisions regarding treatment.”
The study was funded by a grant from the MS Society of Great Britain. Dr. Chung disclosed receiving honoraria from Teva, Biogen, and Roche.
SOURCE: Chung K et al. Mult Scler. 2018;24(S2):58-59, .