Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: a longitudinal study

Adam Fambiatos, Vilija Jokubaitis, Dana Horakova, Eva Kubala Havrdova, Maria Trojano, Alexandre Prat, Marc Girard, Pierre Duquette, Alessandra Lugaresi, Guillermo Izquierdo, Francois Grand’Maison, Pierre Grammond, Patrizia Sola, Diana Ferraro, Raed Alroughani, Murat Terzi, Raymond Hupperts, Cavit Boz, Jeannette Lechner-Scott, Eugenio PucciRoberto Bergamaschi, Vincent Van Pesch, Serkan Ozakbas, Franco Granella, Recai Turkoglu, Gerardo Iuliano, Daniele Spitaleri, Pamela McCombe, Claudio Solaro, Mark Slee, Radek Ampapa, Aysun Soysal, Thor Petersen, Jose Luis Sanchez-Menoyo, Freek Verheul, Julie Prevost, Youssef Sidhom, Bart Van Wijmeersch, Steve Vucic, Edgardo Cristiano, Maria Laura Saladino, Norma Deri, Michael Barnett, Javier Olascoaga, Fraser Moore, Olga Skibina, Orla Gray, Yara Fragoso, Bassem Yamout, Cameron Shaw, Bhim Singhal, Neil Shuey, Suzanne Hodgkinson, Ayse Altintas, Talal Al-Harbi, Tunde Csepany, Bruce Taylor, Jordana Hughes, Jae Kwan Jun, Anneke van der Walt, Tim Spelman, Helmut Butzkueven, Tomas Kalincik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The risk factors for conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis remain highly contested. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the demographic, clinical and paraclinical features that influence the risk of conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Methods: Patients with adult-onset relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis and at least four recorded disability scores were selected from MSBase, a global observational cohort. The risk of conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive multiple sclerosis was evaluated at multiple time points per patient using multivariable marginal Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were performed. Results: A total of 15,717 patients were included in the primary analysis. Older age (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02, p < 0.001), longer disease duration (HR = 1.01, p = 0.038), a higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score (HR = 1.30, p < 0.001), more rapid disability trajectory (HR = 2.82, p < 0.001) and greater number of relapses in the previous year (HR = 1.07, p = 0.010) were independently associated with an increased risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Improving disability (HR = 0.62, p = 0.039) and disease-modifying therapy exposure (HR = 0.71, p = 0.007) were associated with a lower risk. Recent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging activity, evidence of spinal cord lesions and oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were not associated with the risk of conversion. Conclusion: Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis increases with age, duration of illness and worsening disability and decreases with improving disability. Therapy may delay the onset of secondary progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • disease modifying therapies
  • multiple sclerosis
  • prediction
  • prognostics
  • SPMS


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