Background and purpose: The prevention of disability over the long term is the main treatment goal in multiple sclerosis (MS); however, randomized clinical trials evaluate only short-term treatment effects on disability. This study aimed to define criteria for 6-month confirmed disability progression events of MS with a high probability of resulting in sustained long-term disability worsening.
Methods: In total, 14,802 6-month confirmed disability progression events were identified in 8741 patients from the global MSBase registry. For each 6-month confirmed progression event (13,321 in the development and 1481 in the validation cohort), a sustained progression score was calculated based on the demographic and clinical characteristics at the time of progression that were predictive of long-term disability worsening. The score was externally validated in the Cladribine Tablets Treating Multiple Sclerosis Orally (CLARITY) trial.
Results: The score was based on age, sex, MS phenotype, relapse activity, disability score and its change from baseline, number of affected functional system domains and worsening in six of the domains. In the internal validation cohort, a 61% lower chance of improvement was estimated with each unit increase in the score (hazard ratio 0.39, 95% confidence interval 0.29–0.52; discriminatory index 0.89). The proportions of progression events sustained at 5 years stratified by the score were 1: 72%; 2: 88%; 3: 94%; 4: 100%. The results of the CLARITY trial were confirmed for reduction of disability progression that was >88% likely to be sustained (events with score ˃1.5).
Conclusions: Clinicodemographic characteristics of 6-month confirmed disability progression events identify those at high risk of sustained long-term disability. This knowledge will allow future trials to better assess the effect of therapy on long-term disability accrual.
- clinical trial
- functional system impairment
- risk scoring
- sustained disability progression