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Prognostic Value of Serum Neurofilament Light Chain for Disease Activity and Worsening in Patients With Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis: Results From the Phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I and II Trials.



This study aims to confirm the prognostic value of baseline serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) for on-study disease activity and worsening in patients with relapsing MS (RMS).


Previous post-hoc studies suggested that sNfL could be a prognostic biomarker in RMS. In the phase 3 ASCLEPIOS I/II trials in which ofatumumab demonstrated better efficacy outcomes than teriflunomide, treatment with ofatumumab also led to significantly reduced sNfL levels compared to teriflunomide treatment.


In this study, we report protocol-planned analyses from the pooled ASCLEPIOS I/II trials (N=1882). Per protocol, patients were stratified by median baseline sNfL levels (9.3 pg/ml) into high (>median) and low (≤median) categories to prognosticate: annualized rate of new/enlarging T2 (neT2) lesions in year 1 and 2, annualized relapse rate, annual percentage change in whole brain (WB) and regional brain volume [thalamus, white matter (WM), cortical gray matter (cGM)], and disability outcomes. Similar analyses were performed for the recently diagnosed (within 3 years), treatment-naive patients (no prior disease-modifying therapy) subgroup.


High versus low sNfL at baseline was prognostic of increased on-study T2 lesion formation at year 1 (relative increase: ofatumumab +158%; teriflunomide +69%, both p<0.001), which persisted in year 2 (+65%, p=0.124; +46%, p=0.003); of higher annual percentage change of WB volume (ofatumumab, -0.32% vs. -0.24%, p=0.044, and teriflunomide, -0.43% vs. -0.29%, p=0.002), thalamic volume (-0.56% vs. -0.31%, p=0.047 and -0.94% vs. -0.49%, p<0.001), and WM volume (-0.30% vs. -0.19%, p=0.083 and -0.38% vs. -0.18%, p=0.003) but not of cGM volume (-0.39% vs. -0.32%, p=0.337 and -0.49% vs. -0.46%, p=0.563). A single sNfL assessment at baseline was not prognostic for on-study relapses or disability worsening. Results were similar in the subgroup of recently diagnosed, treatment-naive patients.


This study confirms that baseline sNfL levels are prognostic of future on-study lesion formation and whole brain and regional atrophy in all RMS patients, including recently diagnosed, treatment-naive patients.

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