THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with the anti-CD52 monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab as first-line therapy for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), or for first-line therapy-refractory relapsing-remitting MS, correlates with reductions in both the relapse rate and in sustained accumulation of disability, according to two phase 3 studies published online Nov. 1 in The Lancet.
Jeffrey A. Cohen, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues assessed the efficacy and safety of first-line alemtuzumab (12 mg; 386 patients) versus interferon beta 1a (187 patients) for relapsing-remitting MS. The researchers found that the relapse rate was 40 percent in the interferon beta 1a group and 22 percent in the alemtuzumab group (rate ratio, 0.45), with 59 and 78 percent of patients, respectively, relapse-free at two years. Sustained accumulation of disability was observed in 11 and 8 percent of interferon beta 1a-treated and alemtuzumab-treated patients (hazard ratio, 0.70), respectively.
Alasdair J. Coles, M.D., from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared the efficacy and safety of 12 mg alemtuzumab (426 patients) versus interferon beta 1a (202 patients) for patients who had experienced at least one relapse on interferon beta or glatiramer. The researchers found that the relapse rate was 51 percent in the interferon beta 1a group compared with 35 percent in the alemtuzumab group (rate ratio, 0.51), with 47 and 65 percent, respectively, relapse-free at two years. Sustained accumulation of disability was noted in 20 percent of the interferon beta 1a group and 13 percent of the alemtuzumab group (hazard ratio, 0.58).
"For patients with first-line treatment-refractory relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, alemtuzumab could be used to reduce relapse rates and sustained accumulation of disability," Coles and colleagues write.
Several authors from both studies disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Genzyme (Sanofi) and Bayer Schering Pharma, both of which funded the studies.
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