Research: NMO is Not MS-Different responses to treatment

Kleiter et al. Failure of Natalizumab to Prevent Relapses in Neuromyelitis Optica.Arch Neurol. 2012 ;69:239-245.

OBJECTIVE: To describe first experiences with the integrin inhibitor natalizumab, given to patients with suspected relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) who were later diagnosed with aquaporin 4-positive neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

RESULTS: We identified 5 patients (4 female; median age, 45 years) who were initially diagnosed with MS and treated with natalizumab before diagnosis of NMO was established. Natalizumab was given as escalation therapy after failure of first- or second-line immunomodulatory therapies for MS. During natalizumab therapy (median duration, 8 infusions; range, 2-11 infusions), all 5 patients displayed persisting disease activity; a total of 9 relapses occurred (median duration to relapse, 120 days; range, 45-230 days) after the start of treatment. Four patients had an accumulation of disability and 1 patient died 2 months after cessation of natalizumab treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that natalizumab fails to control disease activity in patients with NMO. Neuromyelitis optica should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients with suspected MS who are unresponsive to natalizumab therapy.

This yet further evidence that neuromyelitis optica, which shows autoimmunity to aquaporin-4 water channels, is differnt to typical multiple sclerosis as it responds differntly to therapy.

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1 comment

  • Clinically defined MS patients also respond differently to Tysabri treatment. Does this mean that those who fail don't have MS? Of course not.

    Response to Tysabri is an unacceptable measure of similarity, since MS response is far from 100% and the mechanisms of action are not fully understood.

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