University of California San Francisco
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

Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Poster Presentation

P0063 - Development of a Custom Multivariate Proteomic Serum Based Assay for Association with Radiographic and Clinical Endpoints in MS (ID 833)

Abstract

Background

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex and heterogeneous disease. Investigating the biological pathways and cell types involved in MS pathophysiology as represented by protein biomarker expression can help inform the development of tools to monitor disease activity, disease progression, identify early evidence of relapse, and monitor treatment response.

Objectives

To develop a blood based multiplex proteomic assay that associates with clinical and radiographic endpoints in patients with MS. These endpoints include the presence of gadolinium-enhanced (Gd+) lesions, Annualized Relapse Rate (ARR) and clinically defined relapse status (active versus stable).

Methods

Serum samples (n=690 in total) from multiple deeply-phenotyped cohorts (ACP, CLIMB and EPIC) were tested in immunoassays for the measurement of 1196 proteins using Proximity Extension Assays (PEA) from OlinkTM and for 215 proteins using xMAPTM immunoassays from Myriad RBM, Inc. (RBM). Associated radiographic and clinical endpoints at the time of the blood draw were correlated with the protein levels. Twenty-one proteins were selected for inclusion in a custom assay based on their performance in univariate and multivariate statistical models, and replication across independent cohorts. Biological pathway modeling and network analysis were performed to ensure comprehensive representation of MS neurophysiology. Area under the curve (AUC) was selected as the key metric for model performance evaluation.

Results

Multivariate statistical ensembles restricted to the expression levels of the biomarkers selected for the custom assay achieved AUC performance of 0.827 for classification of the presence of Gd+ lesions, 0.802 for classification of clinically defined relapse status, and 0.930 for the classification of patients with Low ARR (≤0.2 relapses) vs High ARR (≥1.0 relapses). A multivariate model utilizing shifts in biomarker expression in longitudinally paired samples achieved the highest observed performance of 0.950 for classification of Gd+ lesion presence. In each case, the multivariate models significantly outperformed (p-value <0.05) the AUC of the highest performing univariate biomarker.

Conclusions

Multivariate models restricted to the 21 selected proteins effectively classified several radiographic and clinical endpoints with stronger performance than any single biomarker. A 21-plex custom assay panel is being developed for further investigation and validation using additional cohorts.

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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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Microbiome Poster Presentation

P0671 - Exploring the gut microbiome in multiple sclerosis via the international MS Microbiome Study (iMSMS) (ID 1532)

Abstract

Background

The gut microbiota is emerging as a critical regulator of immune responses and appears to play an important role in MS. The International Multiple Sclerosis Microbiome study (iMSMS) is a global collaboration aimed at elucidating the role of commensal gut bacteria in MS by acquiring and analyzing samples from 2000 patients and 2000 household healthy controls.

Objectives

The iMSMS focuses on identifying the microbes, genes and pathways that are involved in MS pathogenesis and on investigating how the microbiome changes response to treatment.

Methods

A total of 576 case and household healthy control pairs were recruited from 7 centers located in the US (West and East coasts), Europe and South America. Stool samples were collected and evaluated by both 16S and shallow whole metagenome shotgun sequencing. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to understand patterns of variation on gut microbiome.

Results

This is the largest MS microbiome study reported to date. Our results showed a statistically significant difference of beta diversity between MS and healthy controls for the first time in MS. Intriguingly, multiple species of Akkermansia, including the known mucin-degrading bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila, were significantly enriched in untreated MS patients after adjusting for confounding factors, but the difference was not detected in treated MS group versus control. Ruminococcus torques and Eisenbergiella tayi were also among the top significantly enriched bacteria in MS. Inversely, a main butyrate producer, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, was significantly decreased in the untreated MS group. Functional pathways of L-tryptophan biosynthesis and L-threonine biosynthesis were slightly increased in untreated MS patients, while 5-aminoimidazole ribonucleotide biosynthesis I was increased in the treated group.

Conclusions

Our large household-controlled study allowed us to identify modest but statistically robust MS-associated changes in bacterial composition and functions. It provides the foundation for all future studies of the gut microbiota in MS. The strain-level genomic variation and microbiome-derived molecules need to be further explored for understanding microbial adaptation and pathogenicity.

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