Long-term disability progression in primary progressive multiple sclerosis: A 15-year study

MA Rocca, MP Sormani, M Rovaris, D Caputo, A Ghezzi, E Montanari, A Bertolotto, A Laroni, R Bergamaschi, V Martinelli, G Comi, M Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prognostic markers of primary progressive multiple sclerosis evolution are needed. We investigated the added value of magnetic resonance imaging measures of brain and cervical cord damage in predicting long-term clinical worsening of primary progressive multiple sclerosis compared to simple clinical assessment. In 54 patients, conventional and diffusion tensor brain scans and cervical cord T 1 -weighted scans were acquired at baseline and after 15 months. Clinical evaluation was performed after 5 and 15 years in 49 patients. Lesion load, brain and cord atrophy, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy values from the brain normal-appearing white matter and grey matter were obtained. Using linear regression models, we screened the clinical and imaging variables as independent predictors of 15-year disability change (measured on the expanded disability status scale). At 15 years, 90% of the patients had disability progression. Integrating clinical and imaging variables at 15 months predicted disability changes at 15 years better than clinical factors at 5 years (R 2 = 61% versus R 2 = 57%). The model predicted long-term disability change with a precision within one point in 38 of 49 patients (77.6%). Integration of clinical and imaging measures allows identification of primary progressive multiple sclerosis patients at risk of long-term disease progression 4 years earlier than when using clinical assessment alone. © The Author (2017).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2814-2819
Number of pages6
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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