INTRODUCTION: Patients with late-onset Pompe disease (LOPD) receiving enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) may develop IgG antibodies against alglucosidase alpha (anti-rhGAA) in the first 3 months of treatment. The exact role of these antibodies in modulating efficacy of ERT in this group of patients is still not fully understood. To assess whether anti rh-GAA antibodies interfere with ERT efficacy, we studied a large Italian cohort of LOPD patients.
METHODS: We analyzed clinical findings and performed serial measurements of IgG anti rh-GAA antibody titers from 64 LOPD patients treated with ERT. The first examination (T0) was completed on average at 17.56 months after starting ERT, while the follow-up (T1) was collected on average at 38.5 months. Differences in T0-T1 delta of the six-minute walking test (6MWT), MRC sum score (MRC), gait, stairs and chair performance (GSGC) and forced vital capacity (FVC) were considered and then related to the antibody titers.
RESULTS: Almost 22% of the patients never developed antibodies against GAA, while 78.1% had a positive titer (31.2% patients developed a low titer, 43.8% a medium titer and 3.1% a high titer). No statistical significance was found in relating the T0-T1 delta differences and antibody titers, except for MRC sum score values in a subgroup of patients treated < 36 months, in which those with a null antibody titer showed a greater clinical improvement than patients with a positive titer.
CONCLUSION: Our results confirm that in a large cohort of LOPD patients, anti rh-GAA antibody generation did not significantly affect either clinical outcome or ERT efficacy. However, in the first 36 months of treatment, a possible interference of low-medium antibody titers with the clinical status could be present. Therefore, a careful and regular evaluation of antibody titers, especially in cases with evidence of clinical decline despite ERT, should be performed.