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Stellmann, Jan-Patrick; Krumbholz, Markus; Friede, Tim; Gahlen, Anna; Borisow, Nadja; Fischer, Katrin; Hellwig, Kerstin; Pache, Florence; Ruprecht, Klemens; Havla, Joachim; Kümpfel, Tania; Aktas, Orhan; Hartung, Hans-Peter; Ringelstein, Marius; Geis, Christian; Kleinschnitz, Christoph; Berthele, Achim; Hemmer, Bernhard; Angstwurm, Klemens; Young, Kim Lea; Schuster, Simon; Stangel, Martin; Lauda, Florian; Tumani, Hayrettin; Mayer, Christoph; Zeltner, Lena; Ziemann, Ulf; Linker, Ralf Andreas; Schwab, Matthias; Marziniak, Martin; Bergh, Florian Then; Hofstadt-van Oy, Ulrich; Neuhaus, Oliver; Zettl, Uwe; Faiss, Jürgen; Wildemann, Brigitte; Paul, Friedemann; Jarius, Sven; Trebst, Corinna; Kleiter, Ingo (2017): Immunotherapies in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder: efficacy and predictors of response. In: Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Vol. 88, No. 8: pp. 639-647


Objective To analyse predictors for relapses and number of attacks under different immunotherapies in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Design This is a retrospective cohort study conducted in neurology departments at 21 regional and university hospitals in Germany. Eligible participants were patients with aquaporin-4-antibody-positive or aquaporin-4-antibody-negative NMOSD. Main outcome measures were HRs from Cox proportional hazard regression models adjusted for centre effects, important prognostic factors and repeated treatment episodes. Results 265 treatment episodes with a mean duration of 442 days (total of 321 treatment years) in 144 patients (mean age at first attack: 40.9 years, 82.6% female, 86.1% aquaporin-4-antibody-positive) were analysed. 191 attacks occurred during any of the treatments (annual relapse rate=0.60). The most common treatments were rituximab (n=77, 111 patient-years), azathioprine (n=52, 68 patient-years), interferon-beta (n=32, 61 patient-years), mitoxantrone (n=34, 32.1 patient-years) and glatiramer acetate (n=17, 10 patient-years). Azathioprine (HR=0.4, 95% CI 0.3 to 0.7, p=0.001) and rituximab (HR=0.6, 95% CI 0.4 to 1.0, p=0.034) reduced the attack risk compared with interferon-beta, whereas mitoxantrone and glatiramer acetate did not. Patients who were aquaporin-4-antibody-positive had a higher risk of attacks (HR=2.5, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.1, p=0.009). Every decade of age was associated with a lower risk for attacks (HR=0.8, 95% CI 0.7 to 1.0, p=0.039). A previous attack under the same treatment tended to be predictive for further attacks (HR=1.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.4, p=0.065). Conclusions Age, antibody status and possibly previous attacks predict further attacks in patients treated for NMOSD. Azathioprine and rituximab are superior to interferon-beta.