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Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy after natalizumab monotherapy

We describe progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) caused by infection with human polyomavirus JC virus in a patient with multiple sclerosis who was treated with natalizumab. The first PML symptoms appeared after 14 monthly infusions of the drug. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a presumed multiple sclerosis lesion, and JC virus DNA was not detected on polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) assay of cerebrospinal fluid. The patient’s symptoms worsened, and the diagnosis of PML was established wWe describe progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) caused by infection with human polyomavirus JC virus in a patient with multiple sclerosis who was treated with natalizumab. The first PML symptoms appeared after 14 monthly infusions of the drug. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a presumed multiple sclerosis lesion, and JC virus DNA was not detected on polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) assay of cerebrospinal fluid. The patient’s symptoms worsened, and the diagnosis of PML was established with a more sensitive quantitative PCR assay after 16 infusions of natalizumab. Plasma exchange was used to accelerate clearance of natalizumab. Approximately 3 weeks after plasma exchange, an immune-reconstitution inflammatory syndrome appeared. JC virus DNA was no longer detectable on quantitative PCR assay, and the patient’s symptoms improved.ith a more sensitive quantitative PCR assay after 16 infusions of natalizumab. Plasma exchange was used to accelerate clearance of natalizumab. Approximately 3 weeks after plasma exchange, an immune-reconstitution inflammatory syndrome appeared. JC virus DNA was no longer detectable on quantitative PCR assay, and the patient’s symptoms improved.

The present efficacy of multiple sclerosis therapeutics: Is the new 66% just the old 33%?

A challenge for the clinician treating patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is to determine the most effective treatment while weighing the benefits and risks. Results of the phase 2 and phase 3 studies on natalizumab were received with great interest, in part due to the “improved” risk reduction for relapse rate, disease progression, and MRI metrics observed in comparison to results in trials of beta-interferon and glatiramer acetate. However, comparison across trials is invalid, in large part due to differences in the study populations. The increased efficacy observed in more recent trials has also been attributed to a fundamental change in subjects with MS enrolled in recent trials compared with the prior decade. In this article, we debate the relative efficacy of natalizumab vs the older injectable therapies.

 Asymptomatic reactivation of JC virus in patients treated with natalizumab

BACKGROUND: Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) occurs in a fraction of patients with multiple sclerosis who were treated with natalizumab. Most adults who are infected with the JC virus, the etiologic agent in PML, do not have symptoms. We sought to determine whether exposure to natalizumab causes subclinical reactivation and neurotropic transformation of JC virus. METHODS: We followed 19 consecutive patients with multiple sclerosis who were treated with natalizumab over an 18-month period, performing quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction assays in blood and urine for JC virus reactivation; BK virus, a JC virus-related polyomavirus, was used as a control. We determined JC virus-specific T-cell responses by means of an enzyme-linked immunospot assay and antibody responses by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and analyzed JC virus regulatory-region sequences. RESULTS: After 12 months of natalizumab therapy, the prevalence of JC virus in the urine of the 19 patients increased from a baseline value of 19% to 63% (P=0.02). After 18 months of treatment, JC virus was detectable in 3 of 15 available plasma samples (20%) and in 9 of 15 available samples of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (60%) (P=0.02). JC virus regulatory-region sequences in blood samples and in most of the urine samples were similar to those usually found in PML. Conversely, BK virus remained stable in urine and was undetectable in blood. The JC virus-specific cellular immune response dropped significantly between 6 and 12 months of treatment, and variations in the cellular immune response over time tended to be greater in patients in whom JC viremia developed. None of the patients had clinical or radiologic signs of PML. CONCLUSIONS: Subclinical reactivation of JC virus occurs frequently in natalizumab-treated patients with multiple sclerosis. Viral shedding is associated with a transient drop in the JC virus-specific cellular immune response.

Treatment of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy associated with natalizumab

We describe the clinical and therapeutic course of a 52-year-old patient with multiple sclerosis in whom progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) developed after 12 months of therapy with natalizumab. The patient was hospitalized 2 months after the onset of neurologic and psychiatric symptoms and was treated with plasma exchange and immunoadsorption to eliminate natalizumab. After a brief improvement, he became critically ill with an apparent episode of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. Steroid-pulse therapy led to stabilization of the patient’s condition and clinically significant recovery. This case illustrates that prompt diagnosis and treatment may improve the outcome in patients with severe PML associated with natalizumab therapy.

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October 28, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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