University Hospital Basel
Department of Neurology

Author Of 1 Presentation

Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Oral Presentation

PS09.05 - Value of serum neurofilament light chain levels as a biomarker of suboptimal treatment response in MS clinical practice

Abstract

Background

Serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) reflects neuro-axonal damage and may qualify as a biomarker of suboptimal response to disease modifying therapy (DMT).

Objectives

To investigate the predictive value of sNfL in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and relapsing-remitting (RR) MS patients with established DMT for future MS disease activity in the Swiss MS Cohort Study.

Methods

All patients were on DMT for at least 3 months. sNfL was measured 6 or 12-monthly with the NF-light®assay. The association between sNfL and age was modeled using a generalized additive model for location scale and shape. Z-scores (sNfLz) were derived thereof, reflecting the deviation of a patient sNfL value from the mean value of same age healthy controls (n=8865 samples). We used univariable mixed logistic regression models to investigate the association between sNfLz and the occurrence of clinical events (relapses, EDSS worsening [≥1.5 steps if EDSS 0; ≥1.0 if 1.0-5.5 or ≥0.5 if >5.5] in the following year in all patients, and in those fulfilling NEDA-3 criteria (no relapses, EDSS worsening, contrast enhancing or new/enlarging T2 lesions in brain MRI, based on previous year). We combined sNfLz with clinical and MRI measures of MS disease activity in the previous year (EDA-3) in a multivariable mixed logistic regression model for predicting clinical events in the following year.

Results

sNfL was measured in 1062 patients with 5192 longitudinal samples (median age 39.7 yrs; EDSS 2.0; 4.1% CIS, 95.9% RRMS; median follow-up 5 yrs). sNfLz predicted clinical events in the following year (OR 1.21 [95%CI 1.11-1.36], p<0.001, n=4624). This effect increased in magnitude with increasing sNfLz (sNfLz >1: OR 1.41 [95%CI 1.15-1.73], p=0.001; >1.5: OR 1.80 [95%CI 1.43-2.28], p<0.001; >2: OR 2.33 [95%CI 1.74-3.14], p<0.001). Similar results were found for the prediction of future new/enlarging T2 lesions and brain volume loss. In the multivariable model, new/enlarging T2 lesions (OR 1.88 [95%CI 1.13-3.12], p=0.016) and sNfLz>1.5 (OR 2.18 [95%CI 1.21-3.90], p=0.009) predicted future clinical events (n=853), while previous EDSS worsening, previous relapses and current contrast enhancement did not. In NEDA-3 patients, change of sNfLz (per standard deviation) was associated with a 37% increased risk of clinical events in the subsequent year (OR 1.37 [95%CI 1.04-1.78], p=0.025, n=587).

Conclusions

Our data support the value of sNfL levels, beyond the NEDA3 concept, for treatment monitoring in MS clinical practice.

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Author Of 5 Presentations

Biosensors Poster Presentation

P0069 - dreams: developing a comprehensive, sensitive and validated set of digital biomarkers for MS (ID 1323)

Speakers
Presentation Number
P0069
Presentation Topic
Biosensors

Abstract

Background

Smartphones and watches and their inbuilt sensors allow for the collection of a near to infinite amount of data about their owners. Taking advantage of these capabilities to improve disease characterisation and monitoring and to support treatment decisions in MS seems obvious but faces a number of challenges: Selection and validation of a comprehensive and meaningful set of tests, managing the immense amount of data and identifying the useful information, data privacy and ascertainment of long-term adherence.

Objectives

To assess systematically the feasibility of a comprehensive smartphone and smartwatch based set of digital biomarkers for disease monitoring in patients with MS (PwMS) and validate this tool against currently available state of the art clinical, imaging and body fluid assessments.

Methods

The dreams App is a software application including multiple biomarkers for each of the domains movement, dexterity, cognition and vision as well as questionnaires for fatigue and other patient reported outcomes. Compliance is enhanced through a gamification-approach. We are currently conducting a feasibility study with a group of PwMS and matched healthy controls to further evaluate the technical reliability of a larger set of digital biomarkers and select those best suited for the validation studies. Early next year, the first of two independent validation studies including 400 PwMS, recruited from participants in the Swiss MS cohort (SMSC) is planned to further validate the digital biomarkers through correlation with established standardized clinical, imaging and body fluid markers already implemented in the SMSC.

Results

Preliminary in-house reliability testing with healthy controls showed intra class correlation coefficients of >60% for the digital biomarkers included in the feasibility study and >80% for at least one in every domain. These results were derived through unguided repetitions over multi-day-timeframes and not optimal laboratory conditions in order to truthfully reflect future use.

Conclusions

With this program, we aim at establishing dreams as a novel smartphone-based comprehensive, modular, validated, independent and broadly accepted digital assessment tool for PwMS. Integrated into a data management and precision medicine based decision support system this assessment tool would improve every day management and allow for better assessment of new therapies in the setting of clinical trials.

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Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Poster Presentation

P0097 - Intrathecal immunoglobulin M synthesis is associated with higher serum neurofilament light chain levels and increased MRI disease activity in MS (ID 1089)

Abstract

Background

Intrathecal IgM synthesis was reported to be associated with higher clinical disease activity and severity. We found an association also with earlier use of high efficacy treatments in relapsing MS (RMS).

Objectives

To explore whether patients with intrathecal IgM synthesis show a) higher serum neurofilament light chain levels (sNfL) as a reflection of neuronal damage, or b) signs of increased disease severity in cerebral MRI, in patients with RMS followed in the Swiss MS Cohort Study.

Methods

487 patients were categorized by presence of oligoclonal IgG bands (OCGB) and intrathecally produced IgG/M:

1) OCGB-/IgG-/IgM- (reference [ref]);

2) OCGB+/IgG-/IgM-;

3) OCGB+/IgG+/IgM- and

4) OCGB+/IgG+/IgM+.

sNfL was measured (at baseline and every 6- or 12 months) with the NF-light® assay. Age-dependent sNfL z-scores (sNfLz) were modelled in 8865 healthy control samples to reflect the deviation of a patient sNfL value compared to mean values observed in same age healthy controls. Yearly T2 lesion number and occurrence of new/enlarging T2 lesions were automatically assessed in cerebral MRIs and checked manually. Contrast enhancing lesions (CEL) were manually quantified. Linear or negative binomial mixed models were used to investigate the associations between the four CSF Ig patterns and longitudinal sNfLz and MRI measures, adjusted for DMT and other covariates.

Results

IgM+ patients had higher sNfLz vs reference (estimate 0.50 [CI 0.12, 0.89], p=0.011), whereas those with only OCGB+ (0.11 [-0.28, 0.50], p=0.582) or with OCGB+/IgG+ (0.20 [-0.16, 0.56], p=0.270) did not (n=2970 observations). This was confirmed when analyzing only untreated patients adjusting for T2 and CEL numbers (1.16 [0.47, 1.86], p<0.01 vs 0.58 [-0.11, 1.27], p=0.1022 vs 0.51 [-0.11, 1.13], p=0.108 vs ref, respectively) (n=234).

IgM+ patients had 2.28-fold more T2 lesions ([1.51, 3.44], p<0.01) vs ref; for patients with only OCGB+ (1.61 [1.07, 2.43], p=0.0237) or OCGB+/IgG+ (1.58 [CI 1.08, 2.32], p=0.0179) (n=1580) this association was weaker.

IgM+ was associated with a 2.47-fold risk for new/enlarging T2 lesions on yearly follow-up MRIs vs ref (2.47 [1.28, 4.78], p<0.01) but not the two other patient groups (1.84 [CI 0.93; 3.65], p=0.0799 and 1.61 [CI 0.87; 2.95], p=0.1280) (n=861).

Conclusions

Intrathecal IgM synthesis was consistently associated with quantitative measures of neuro-axonal injury and disease severity in RMS. Our findings strongly support the clinical utiliy of this biomarker.

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Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Poster Presentation

P0154 - Serum Neurofilament light chain captures and predicts disability progression independent of relapses (PIRA) in multiple sclerosis (ID 809)

Abstract

Background

In relapsing MS, blood NfL has emerged as a promising biomarker of disease activity and worsening. The ability of serum NfL (sNfL) to detect relapse-independent disability progression is less well established.

Objectives

We investigated whether patients followed in the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Cohort (SMSC) without any relapses during follow-up, had higher sNfL levels when experiencing confirmed disability progression independent of relapses (PIRA) as compared to stable patients. Secondly, we explored whether baseline (BL) sNfL could predict PIRA.

Methods

BL and 6- or 12-monthly follow-up sNfL were measured by Simoa NF-light® assay in 4608 samples from 806 relapse-free MS patients and 8865 serum samples from 4133 healthy controls (median age 45 yrs). Age-dependent sNfL z-scores (sNfLz) were modeled in healthy controls using a generalised additive model for location scale and shape to reflect the deviation of a patient sNfL value from the mean value of same age healthy controls. PIRA was defined as an EDSS increase of ≥1.5 steps if baseline EDSS 0, ≥1.0 if 1.0-5.5, or ≥0.5 if >5.5, confirmed after ≥6 months. We used mixed effects models to investigate the association between PIRA, clinical parameters, disease modifying treatment, and log(sNfL) as dependent variable at each sampling. The predictive value of BL sNfLz was investigated by uni- and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

Results

806 (4608 samples) of 1399 patients in the SMSC did not experience relapses during a median follow-up of 4.7 years (57.6%; BL: 715 RRMS, 43 SPMS, 48 PPMS; median age 42 yrs; samples/patient: 5; EDSS 2.0). PIRA occurred in 153/806 (19.0%). In a multivariable model, sNfL was positively associated with age (1.7%/year [95%CI 1.5;2.0], p<0.001) and EDSS at BL (7.6%/step, [5.8;9.6], p<0.001), whereas it was decreased when sampled during monoclonal antibody therapy (-10.8%, [-14.7;-6.6], p<0.001) or oral MS treatments (-10.4%, [-14.1;-6.5%], p<0.001) as compared to untreated timepoints. Importantly, patients experiencing PIRA had 11.6% higher sNfL levels, compared with stable patients (4.5;19.2, p=0.001). The hazard of future PIRA increased by 23.5% (8.3;40.8, p=0.002) per 1 standard deviation higher BL sNfLz. This finding was confirmed after adjusting for age, EDSS score and treatment at BL (27.8%, [11.5;46.5], p<0.001; sNfLz > 2: 2.5-fold risk [95%CI 1.7-3.9], p<0.001 for PIRA event vs. sNfLz < 2).

Conclusions

Our data support the value of sNfL to capture and predict neuro-axonal injury leading to disability progression independent from relapses.

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Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Poster Presentation

P0160 - Serum NfL z-scores derived from a large healthy control group reflect different levels of treatment effect in a real-world setting (ID 916)

Abstract

Background

Serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) levels reflect neuroaxonal damage and relate to disease activity in MS. sNfL may qualify as well as a biomarker of suboptimal treatment response to disease modifying therapies (DMT). Establishment of age-dependent reference ranges in healthy controls is a prerequisite for developing this biomarker for clinical use.

Objectives

To compare on-treatment sNfL levels with values from a healthy control cohort and to investigate the effect of DMTs on sNfL levels in patients from the Swiss MS Cohort Study.

Methods

sNfL was measured (at baseline and every 6- or 12 months) with the NF-light® assay. Age-dependent sNfL z-scores (sNfLz) were modeled in healthy controls using a generalized additive model for location scale and shape to reflect the deviation of a patient sNfL value from the mean value of same age healthy controls. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the associations between clinical characteristics, DMT and longitudinal sNfLz. Interaction terms and splines were used to model sNfLz and for comparison log(NfL), and their dynamics under treatment.

Results

sNfL was measured in 1368 patients with 7550 longitudinal samples (baseline: median age: 41.9 yrs; 5.4% CIS, 83.2% RRMS, 5.6% SPMS, 5.8% PPMS; median EDSS: 2.0; median follow-up: 4.6 yrs) and 4133 healthy controls with 8865 samples (median age: 44.8 yrs). In the multivariable model, sNfLz increased with EDSS (0.131/step, [95% CI 0.101;0.161]), recent (<120 days) relapse (0.739 [0.643;0.835]) decreased with age (-0.014/year [-0.02;-0.009]), and time on DMT (-0.040/year [-0.054;-0.027]); sNfLz were lower when sampled while on more effective DMT (oral versus platform injectables: -0.229 [-0.344;-0.144]; monoclonal antibodies (mAB) versus platform injectables: -0.349 [-0.475;-0.224]), (p<0.001 for all associations). sNfLz were inversely associated with the hierarchy in efficacy of mAB over orals and orals over platform therapies with regard to slope and extent of decrease (interaction between time under DMT and DMT class: p<0.001). sNfLz, but not log(NfL) showed normalization of sNfL levels by mAB to healthy control levels.

Conclusions

The dynamic change of sNfLz on DMT reflects closely their relative clinical efficacy and is more meaningful than log(sNfL) by excluding age as a confounding factor. Use of sNfLz based on a large normative database as an age-independent sNfL measure improves the accuracy of the sNfL signal and hence their clinical utility.

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Imaging Poster Presentation

P0580 - Focal inflammatory activity and lesion repair are associated with brain atrophy rates in MS patients (ID 1092)

Abstract

Background

The pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS) is multifactorial and the determinants of brain atrophy rates are not completely understood.

Objectives

To investigate the association between annualized atrophy rate (AAR) of multiple brain measures (regional cortical thickness (CTh), volumes of basal ganglia, thalamus, white matter, gray matter, brain and brain parenchymal fraction (BPF)) and: (1) annualized rate of new and enlarging white matter lesions (WMLs); (2) annualized rate of resolved WMLs; (3) occurrence of progression independent of relapse activity (PIRA) during follow-up.

Methods

We included 1573 1.5T or 3T brain MRI scans from 378 patients of the Swiss MS Cohort Study (331 relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), 27 clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), 11 secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), 9 primary-progressive MS (PPMS); 70% female; median age: 41.9 yrs; disease duration: 8.3 yrs; EDSS: 2.0; follow-up time: 4.0 yrs). Longitudinal changes in WMLs were obtained using an automated prototype (LeMan-PV). Brain volumes and CTh AARs were obtained using FreeSurfer longitudinal pipeline (v6.0) after WMLs filling. In patients fulfilling PIRA an EDSS progression had to be confirmed ≥6 months after the index event. Multivariable generalized linear models were used to model the association between AAR (dependent variable) and independent variables (1-3), correcting for age, sex, disease duration and baseline EDSS. p-values were adjusted for Bonferroni multiple comparison correction; for vertex-wise CTh analysis, Monte Carlo Z simulation was performed (cluster threshold p<0.05).

Results

We found positive associations between annualized rate of new and enlarging WMLs and (i) CTh AAR of 8 extensive clusters (bilateral frontal, temporal and occipital regions and right insula, all p<0.01) and (ii) AAR of: caudate bilaterally (p=0.02), white matter volume, brain volume and BPF (p<0.001 for all).

We also found a negative association between annualized rate of resolved WMLs and CTh AAR in 3 cortical clusters (right insula, precentral area and anterior cingulate region, all p<0.05); no associations with AAR of volumes emerged.

57 patients fulfilled PIRA whereas 295 experienced no EDSS progression events: no significant differences in AAR measures were found between these two groups.

Conclusions

In a large cohort of MS patients, with a median follow-up of 4 years, local radiological inflammatory and reparative activity were associated with AAR in multiple brain regions. PIRA did not seem to be related to increased AAR in any of the regions studied.

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Presenter Of 2 Presentations

Biosensors Poster Presentation

P0069 - dreams: developing a comprehensive, sensitive and validated set of digital biomarkers for MS (ID 1323)

Speakers
Presentation Number
P0069
Presentation Topic
Biosensors

Abstract

Background

Smartphones and watches and their inbuilt sensors allow for the collection of a near to infinite amount of data about their owners. Taking advantage of these capabilities to improve disease characterisation and monitoring and to support treatment decisions in MS seems obvious but faces a number of challenges: Selection and validation of a comprehensive and meaningful set of tests, managing the immense amount of data and identifying the useful information, data privacy and ascertainment of long-term adherence.

Objectives

To assess systematically the feasibility of a comprehensive smartphone and smartwatch based set of digital biomarkers for disease monitoring in patients with MS (PwMS) and validate this tool against currently available state of the art clinical, imaging and body fluid assessments.

Methods

The dreams App is a software application including multiple biomarkers for each of the domains movement, dexterity, cognition and vision as well as questionnaires for fatigue and other patient reported outcomes. Compliance is enhanced through a gamification-approach. We are currently conducting a feasibility study with a group of PwMS and matched healthy controls to further evaluate the technical reliability of a larger set of digital biomarkers and select those best suited for the validation studies. Early next year, the first of two independent validation studies including 400 PwMS, recruited from participants in the Swiss MS cohort (SMSC) is planned to further validate the digital biomarkers through correlation with established standardized clinical, imaging and body fluid markers already implemented in the SMSC.

Results

Preliminary in-house reliability testing with healthy controls showed intra class correlation coefficients of >60% for the digital biomarkers included in the feasibility study and >80% for at least one in every domain. These results were derived through unguided repetitions over multi-day-timeframes and not optimal laboratory conditions in order to truthfully reflect future use.

Conclusions

With this program, we aim at establishing dreams as a novel smartphone-based comprehensive, modular, validated, independent and broadly accepted digital assessment tool for PwMS. Integrated into a data management and precision medicine based decision support system this assessment tool would improve every day management and allow for better assessment of new therapies in the setting of clinical trials.

Collapse
Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Poster Presentation

P0154 - Serum Neurofilament light chain captures and predicts disability progression independent of relapses (PIRA) in multiple sclerosis (ID 809)

Abstract

Background

In relapsing MS, blood NfL has emerged as a promising biomarker of disease activity and worsening. The ability of serum NfL (sNfL) to detect relapse-independent disability progression is less well established.

Objectives

We investigated whether patients followed in the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Cohort (SMSC) without any relapses during follow-up, had higher sNfL levels when experiencing confirmed disability progression independent of relapses (PIRA) as compared to stable patients. Secondly, we explored whether baseline (BL) sNfL could predict PIRA.

Methods

BL and 6- or 12-monthly follow-up sNfL were measured by Simoa NF-light® assay in 4608 samples from 806 relapse-free MS patients and 8865 serum samples from 4133 healthy controls (median age 45 yrs). Age-dependent sNfL z-scores (sNfLz) were modeled in healthy controls using a generalised additive model for location scale and shape to reflect the deviation of a patient sNfL value from the mean value of same age healthy controls. PIRA was defined as an EDSS increase of ≥1.5 steps if baseline EDSS 0, ≥1.0 if 1.0-5.5, or ≥0.5 if >5.5, confirmed after ≥6 months. We used mixed effects models to investigate the association between PIRA, clinical parameters, disease modifying treatment, and log(sNfL) as dependent variable at each sampling. The predictive value of BL sNfLz was investigated by uni- and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

Results

806 (4608 samples) of 1399 patients in the SMSC did not experience relapses during a median follow-up of 4.7 years (57.6%; BL: 715 RRMS, 43 SPMS, 48 PPMS; median age 42 yrs; samples/patient: 5; EDSS 2.0). PIRA occurred in 153/806 (19.0%). In a multivariable model, sNfL was positively associated with age (1.7%/year [95%CI 1.5;2.0], p<0.001) and EDSS at BL (7.6%/step, [5.8;9.6], p<0.001), whereas it was decreased when sampled during monoclonal antibody therapy (-10.8%, [-14.7;-6.6], p<0.001) or oral MS treatments (-10.4%, [-14.1;-6.5%], p<0.001) as compared to untreated timepoints. Importantly, patients experiencing PIRA had 11.6% higher sNfL levels, compared with stable patients (4.5;19.2, p=0.001). The hazard of future PIRA increased by 23.5% (8.3;40.8, p=0.002) per 1 standard deviation higher BL sNfLz. This finding was confirmed after adjusting for age, EDSS score and treatment at BL (27.8%, [11.5;46.5], p<0.001; sNfLz > 2: 2.5-fold risk [95%CI 1.7-3.9], p<0.001 for PIRA event vs. sNfLz < 2).

Conclusions

Our data support the value of sNfL to capture and predict neuro-axonal injury leading to disability progression independent from relapses.

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