Reported is a retrospective, monocentric cohort study of the incidence of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients treated with rituximab. Clinical surveillance of PML-related symptoms in these patients is recommended based on the number of PML cases seen in these individuals.
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Evaluate the application of risk estimates of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy to your patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma previously treated with rituximab.Include progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in the differential diagnosis for neurological symptoms in your patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma previously treated with rituximab.
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Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that promotes better treatment outcomes in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Case series of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in patients receiving rituximab within polychemotherapy regimens have led to the introduction of a black box warning, but no risk estimation has ever been provided.
We performed a retrospective, monocentric cohort study on 976 NHL patients diagnosed in 1994–2008, including 517 patients who received at least one dose of rituximab.
Inclusion of rituximab into standard chemotherapy regimens for NHL caused a significantly higher incidence of PML cases (rate difference, 2.2 every 1,000 patient-years; 95% confidence interval, 0.1–4.3).
Based on this finding, clinical surveillance of PML-related symptoms is recommended in NHL patients exposed to rituximab.
Rituximab; Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; JCV; Monoclonal antibody; Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare but often fatal brain disease caused by the reactivation of the polyomavirus JC (JCV). Characteristics of PML have expanded considerably since the onset of the HIV epidemic with the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), and the development of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome in PML lesions (PML-IRIS). Recently, the monoclonal antibodies natalizumab, efalizumab and rituximab used for treatment of multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, hematologic malignancies, Crohn’s and rheumatic diseases, have been associated with PML. In addition, JCV can also infect neurons, leading to novel neurological disorders JC virus granule cell neuronopathy (JCV GCN) and JC virus encephalopathy (JCVE), and it may also cause meningitis. The newly observed features of PML, the increasingly diverse populations at risk, and the recently discovered grey matter involvement by JCV invite us to reappraise the expanded pathogenesis of this virus in the central nervous system.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is an opportunistic infection that develops in immunosuppressed patients with HIV infection. Paradoxically, some of these patients may develop PML during combined antiretroviral therapy in the setting of immune reconstitution. We describe the types of PML in relation to immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) and the effects of steroid use in these patients.
We performed a retrospective review of the literature (1998 to 2007) and of all HIV-infected patients diagnosed with PML-IRIS at Johns Hopkins Hospital (2004 to 2007). We recorded information on clinical features, microbiologic and virological analysis, neuroimaging, pathology, treatment, and outcome.
Of 54 patients with PML-IRIS, 36 developed PML and IRIS simultaneously (PML-s-IRIS) and 18 had worsening of preexisting PML (PML-d-IRIS) after the initiation of combined antiretroviral therapy. PML-IRIS developed between 1 week and 26 months after initiation of antiretroviral therapy. PML-d-IRIS patients developed IRIS earlier, had higher lesion loads on MRI of the brain, had shorter durations of survival, and had higher mortality rate compared to PML-s-IRIS patients. Twelve patients received treatment with steroids, of which five died and seven showed good neurologic recovery. Patients who survived had received steroids early after IRIS diagnosis for longer durations and had contrast enhancement on IRIS neuroimaging.
Immune reconstitution following initiation of combined antiretroviral therapy may lead to activation of an inflammatory response to detectable or latent JC virus infection. Early and prolonged treatment with steroids may be useful in these patients but requires further investigation.
= fluid-attenuated inversion recovery;
= highly active antiretroviral therapy;
= immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome;
= JC virus;
= Johns Hopkins Hospital;
= progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy;
= worsening of preexisting PML;
= PML and IRIS simultaneously.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) was reported to have developed in three patients treated with natalizumab. We conducted an evaluation to determine whether PML had developed in any other treated patients.
We invited patients who had participated in clinical trials in which they received recent or long-term treatment with natalizumab for multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, or rheumatoid arthritis to participate. The clinical history, physical examination, brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and testing of cerebrospinal fluid for JC virus DNA were used by an expert panel to evaluate patients for PML. We estimated the risk of PML in patients who completed at least a clinical examination for PML or had an MRI.
Of 3417 patients who had recently received natalizumab while participating in clinical trials, 3116 (91 percent) who were exposed to a mean of 17.9 monthly doses underwent evaluation for PML. Of these, 44 patients were referred to the expert panel because of clinical findings of possible PML, abnormalities on MRI, or a high plasma viral load of JC virus. No patient had detectable JC virus DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid. PML was ruled out in 43 of the 44 patients, but it could not be ruled out in one patient who had multiple sclerosis and progression of neurologic disease because data on cerebrospinal fluid testing and follow-up MRI were not available. Only the three previously reported cases of PML were confirmed (1.0 per 1000 treated patients; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.2 to 2.8 per 1000).
A detailed review of possible cases of PML in patients exposed to natalizumab found no new cases and suggested a risk of PML of roughly 1 in 1000 patients treated with natalizumab for a mean of 17.9 months. The risk associated with longer treatment is not known.
We describe a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) caused by infection with the human polyomavirus JC virus in a patient with B-cell small lymphocytic leukemia who was treated with rituximab. The first symptoms of PML appeared immediately following the last of five cycles of rituximab, cyclophosphamide and pentostatin. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed changes consistent with PML, although JC virus DNA was not detected by polymerase chain reaction assay of the cerebrospinal fluid. A stereotactic biopsy of the brain showed histological changes consistent with PML, while electron microscopy revealed JC virus particles attached to the nuclei of astrocytes. The patient was treated supportively but died 53 days after the initial onset of symptoms.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; Rituximab; Small lymphocytic leukemia; JC virus
John Cunningham virus (JCV) is a member of the Polyomaviridae family. It was first isolated from the brain of a patient with Hodgkin disease in 1971, and since then the etiological agent of the progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) was considered. Until the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pandemic, PML was rare: in fact HIV-induced immunodeficiency is the most common predisposing factor accounting for 85% of all instances of PML. This data led to intense research on JCV infection and resulted in better understanding of epidemiology and clinic-pathologic spectrum. Recently, cases of PML have been observed after the introduction of monoclonal antibodies, such as natalizumab, rituximab, efalizumab, and infliximab, in the treatment of autoimmune disease, underlining the important role of host immunity in PML pathogenesis. In this review current understanding of the JCV infection and the new findings relating to the pathogenesis of PML has been comprehensively revised, focusing our attention on the interaction between the cellular and viral molecular pathways implicated in the JCV infection and the modulating role of host immune surveillance in the viral reactivation from a latent state.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is an opportunistic central nervous system- (CNS-) infection that typically occurs in a subset of immunocompromised individuals. An increasing incidence of PML has recently been reported in patients receiving monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, particularly those treated with natalizumab, efalizumab and rituximab. Intracellular CD4+-ATP-concentration (iATP) functionally reflects cellular immunocompetence and inversely correlates with risk of infections during immunosuppressive therapy. We investigated whether iATP may assist in individualized risk stratification for opportunistic infections during mAb-treatment.
iATP in PHA-stimulated, immunoselected CD4+-cells was analyzed using an FDA-approved assay. iATP of mAb-associated PML (natalizumab (n = 8), rituximab (n = 2), efalizumab (n = 1)), or other cases of opportunistic CNS-infections (HIV-associated PML (n = 2), spontaneous PML, PML in a psoriasis patient under fumaric acids, natalizumab-associated herpes simplex encephalitis (n = 1 each)) was reduced by 59% (194.5±29 ng/ml, mean±SEM) in comparison to healthy controls (HC, 479.9±19.8 ng/ml, p<0.0001). iATP in 14 of these 16 patients was at or below 3rd percentile of healthy controls, similar to HIV-patients (n = 18). In contrast, CD4+-cell numbers were reduced in only 7 of 15 patients, for whom cell counts were available. iATP correlated with mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) (iATP/ΔΨm−correlation:tau = 0.49, p = 0.03). Whereas mean iATP of cross-sectionally analysed natalizumab-treated patients was unaltered (448.7±12 ng/ml, n = 150), iATP was moderately decreased (316.2±26.1 ng/ml, p = 0.04) in patients (n = 7) who had been treated already during the pivotal phase III trials and had received natalizumab for more than 6 years. 2/92 (2%) patients with less than 24 months natalizumab treatment revealed very low iATP at or below the 3rd percentile of HC, whereas 10/58 (17%) of the patients treated for more than 24 months had such low iATP-concentrations.
Our results suggest that bioenergetic parameters such as iATP may assist in risk stratification under mAb-immunotherapy of autoimmune disorders.
For patients with HIV/AIDS, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is currently the only effective therapy for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a viral-induced demyelinating disease caused by polyomavirus JC. Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) following initiation of HAART can cause paradoxical clinical deterioration in patients with established PML. Because the onset of PML follows soon after initiation of HAART in some cases (unmasking), we investigated the role IRIS plays in unmasked PML. We reviewed records of 20 PML cases seen from 1997–2006 at the UCSD HIV primary care clinic. Eight cases presented with PML symptoms within 6 months of initiating HAART (referred to hereafter as unmasked PML), six patients were diagnosed with PML before initiating HAART, and six were diagnosed more than 6 months after starting HAART. Patients with unmasked PML constituted forty percent of our series, had relatively long survival, and commonly (50%) had lesions exclusively in the posterior fossa, a localization not previously reported with such a high prevalence. Only 3 of the 8 patients with unmasked PML had IRIS reactions as evidenced by contrast enhancement around lesions on MRI, suggesting that IRIS is not necessary for the pathogenesis of this syndrome.
HIV; PML; HAART; IRIS; immune reconstitution
To determine whether a polymorphism in the Fcγ receptor type IIIA (FCGR3A-F158V), influencing immunoglobulin G binding affinity, relates to the therapeutic efficacy of rituximab in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Observational cohort study.
Three university hospital rheumatology units in Sweden.
Patients with established RA (n=177; 145 females and 32 males) who started rituximab (Mabthera) as part of routine care.
Primary outcome measures
Response to rituximab therapy in relation to FCGR3A genotype, including stratification for sex.
The frequency of responders differed significantly across FCGR3A genotypes (p=0.017 in a 3×2 contingency table). Heterozygous patients showed the highest response rate at 83%, as compared with patients carrying 158FF (68%) or 158VV (56%) (p=0.028 and 0.016, respectively). Among 158VV patients, response rates differed between male and female patients (p=0.036), but not among 158FF or 158VF patients (p=0.72 and 0.46, respectively).
Therapeutic efficacy of rituximab in RA patients is influenced by FCGR3A genotype, with the highest response rates found among heterozygous patients. This may suggest that different rituximab mechanisms of action in RA are optimally balanced in FCGR3A-158VF patients. Similar to the previously described associations with RA susceptibility and disease course, the impact of 158VV on rituximab response may be influenced by sex.
Rheumatology; Immunology; Therapeutics
Progressive multifocal encephalopathy (PML) is a fatal demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), caused by the lytic infection of oligodendrocytes by a human polyomavirus, JC virus (JCV). PML is rare disease but mostly develops in patients with underlying immunosuppressive conditions, including Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lymphoproliferative diseases, in those undergoing antineoplastic therapy and AIDS. However, consistent with the occurrence of PML under immunocompromised conditions, this disease seems to be also steadily increasing among autoimmune disease patients (multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease), who are treated with antibody-based regimens (natalizumab, efalizumab and rituximab). This unexpected occurrence of the disease among such a patient population reconfirms the existence of a strong link between the underlying immunosuppressive conditions and development of PML. These recent observations have generated a new interest among investigators to further examine the unique biology of JCV.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; JC virus; life cycle; replication; multiple sclerosis; Crohn’s disease; natalizumab; efalizumab; rituximab
We conducted a large, population-based study to describe the incidence and risk factors for progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), psoriasis (PsO), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) using national inpatient and outpatient administrative data from the entire Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2000–2009. Suspected PML cases were identified using hospital discharge diagnosis codes. Risk factors for PML were evaluated using outpatient data >= 6 months prior to PML diagnosis.
Among 2,030,578 patients with autoimmune diseases of interest, a total of 53 PML cases were identified (2.6/100,000 patients). Most PML cases had HIV and/or cancer. Nine PML cases had evidence for biologic use prior to PML hospitalization, of which 3 had neither HIV nor malignancy and were exposed to biologics within 12 (rituximab) or 6 months(all other biologics) prior to PML diagnosis. PML occurred at an estimated incidence of 0.2/100,000 patients with autoimmune diseases who did not have HIV or malignancy. PML occurs at a very low incidence among patients with rheumatic diseases but can occur even in the absence of HIV or malignancy.
rheumatoid arthritis; infliximab; progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; JC virus
The safety of other biologic therapies in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) following B cell-depletion therapy with rituximab has not been established. This retrospective chart review of patients attending an outpatient rheumatology clinic aimed to assess the incidence of adverse events in patients receiving biologic agents to treat RA after an inadequate response or intolerance to rituximab. The charts of 22 patients (18 female; mean age 59 years) were reviewed. Duration of RA was >2 years. Before rituximab, patients had failed one (n = 10), two (n = 4) or three (n = 7) biologic therapies: 1 patient started on rituximab as a first-line biologic. Eighteen patients stopped rituximab due to an inadequate clinical response, while four patients stopped due to adverse events. The mean time to starting a new biologic after rituximab was 4 months, although five patients were started within 1 month of the last rituximab infusion. Abatacept (41%) was the most common biologic used after rituximab. The mean follow-up time from the last rituximab infusion was 14 months. Adverse events occurring after rituximab therapy, but before initiation of a new biologic, included disseminated herpes zoster and aseptic meningitis (both required hospitalization). Adverse events recorded after starting a new biologic post-rituximab included rash, carbuncle, upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and eczema, but none was classified as serious. Most of these events occurred in patients receiving abatacept. In conclusion, in this retrospective analysis, no serious adverse events were recorded in patients who received biologic agents following rituximab therapy.
B cell; Biologic therapy; Rheumatoid arthritis; Rituximab; Safety
The polyomavirus JC (JCV) is the etiologic agent of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). JCV remains quiescent in kidneys, where it displays a stable archetypal regulatory region (RR). Conversely, rearranged JCV RR, including tandem repeat patterns found in the CNS of PML patients, have been associated with neurovirulence. The precise site and mechanism of JCV RR transformation is unknown. We present herein a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis treated with methotrexate, who developed PML and had a rapid fatal outcome. JCV DNA PCR was positive in CSF, bone marrow, blood and urine. Double immunohistochemistry staining demonstrated that 9% of bone marrow CD138+ plasma-cells sustained productive infection by JCV, accounting for 94% of JCV-infected cells. JCV RR analysis revealed archetype and rearranged RR forms in bone marrow, while RR with tandem repeat was predominant in blood. These results suggest that the bone marrow may be a potential site of JCV pathogenic transformation. Further studies will be needed to determine the prevalence of JCV in bone marrow of immunosuppressed individuals at risk of PML and characterize the RR and phenotype of these JCV isolates.
JC virus; Bone marrow; Rheumathoid Arthritis; Progressive Multifocal Leukoencepalopathy
In the light of new cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy and induced autoimmunity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who received treatment with upcoming disease-modifying immunosuppressant drugs with a highly specific mode of action such as natalizumab, rituximab, or alemtuzumab, alternative oral treatment options for a subgroup of less severely affected MS patients are a major focus of drug development. These agents are currently investigated in phase III clinical trials and some of them are characterized by a favorable safety profile. With an emphasis on teriflunomide, the active metabolite of an immunosuppressant approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis since 1998, a number of oral treatment options for patients with MS are discussed.
teriflunomide; multiple sclerosis; immunosuppressant; oral drugs
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), observed in immunodeficient patients and caused by JC virus ((JCV), also called JC polyomavirus (JCPyV)). After the HIV pandemic and the introduction of immunomodulatory therapy, the PML incidence significantly increased. The correlation between the use of natalizumab, a drug used in multiple sclerosis (MS), and the PML development of particular relevance. The high incidence of PML in natalizumab-treated patients has highlighted the importance of two factors: the need of PML risk stratification among natalizumab-treated patients and the need of effective therapeutic options. In this review, we discuss these two needs under the light of the major viral models of PML etiopathogenesis.
B cells are implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). A beneficial effect of B cell depletion using rituximab has been shown, but the complete mechanism of action for this drug is unclear.
To determine the relationship between T cells, B cells, and changes in CSF chemokines with rituximab, a monoclonal antibody that targets CD20.
Phase II trial of rituximab as an add-on therapy.
The John L. Multiple Sclerosis Center, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Thirty relapsing-remitting MS subjects with clinical and MRI activity despite treatment with an immunomodulatory drug received four weekly doses of 375mg/m2 rituximab.
Main Outcome Measures
Lumbar puncture was performed before and after rituximab infusions in 26 subjects. CSF B and T lymphocytes were enumerated by flow cytometry, and chemoattractants were measured by ELISA.
After rituximab administration, CSF B cells were decreased or undetectable in all subjects and CSF T cells were reduced in 81% of subjects. The mean reduction in CSF cellularity was 95% for B cells and 50% for T cells. After rituximab infusion, CSF CXCL13 and CCL19 decreased (P= 0.002, P=0.03, respectively). The proportional decline in CSF T cells correlated with the proportional decrease in CXCL13 (r=0.45;P=0.03), suggesting a possible relationship. CSF IgG index, IgG concentration, and oligoclonal band number were unchanged following treatment.
B cells are critical for T cell trafficking into the CNS in MS patients, and may alter T cell trafficking by influencing chemokine production within the CNS.
Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody approved for non Hodgkin lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis. It is being considered for the treatment of MS.
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab for MS treatment.
Studies were selected if they were clinical trials, irrespective of the dosage or combination therapies.
Four studies with a total of 599 patients were included. One assessed the efficacy of rituximab for primary progressive (PP) MS while the other three focused on relapsing-remitting (RR) MS. In the PPMS study, rituximab delayed time to confirmed disease progression (CDP) in pre-planned sub-group analyses. The increase in T2 lesion volume was lower in the rituximab group at week 96 compared with placebo. For the RRMS studies, an open-label phase I study found that rituximab reduced the annualized relapse rate to 0.25 from pre-therapy baseline to week 24, while in the randomized placebo-controlled phase II trial, annualized relapse rates were 0.37 in the rituximab group and 0.84 in the placebo group (p = 0.04) at week 24. Rituximab dramatically reduced the number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions on brain MRI scans for both RRMS studies. Off-label rituximab as an add-on therapy in patients with breakthrough disease on first-line agents was associated with an 88% reduction when comparing the mean number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions prior to and after the treatment. Although frequent adverse events classified as mild or moderate occurred in up to 77% of the patients, there were no grade 4 infusion-related adverse events.
Despite the frequent mild/moderate adverse events related to the drug, rituximab appears overall safe for up to 2 years of therapy and has a substantial impact on the inflammatory disease activity (clinical and/or radiological) of RRMS. The effect of rituximab on disease progression in PPMS appears to be marginal.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a growing concern for patients undergoing immune modulatory therapies for treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Currently, there are no drugs approved for the treatment of PML that have been demonstrated in the patient to effectively and reproducibly alter the course of disease progression. The human polyoma virus JC is the causative agent of PML. JC virus (JCV) dissemination is tightly controlled by regulation of viral gene expression from the promoter by cellular transcription factors expressed in cells permissive for infection. JCV infection likely occurs during childhood, and latent virus containing PML-associated promoter sequences is maintained in lymphoid cells within the bone marrow. Because development of PML is tightly linked to suppression and or modulation of the immune system as in development of hematological malignancies, AIDS, and monoclonal antibody treatments, further scrutiny of the course of JCV infection in immune cells will be essential to our understanding of development of PML and identification of new therapeutic targets.
JC virus; progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy; virus latency; virus tropism; molecular regulation; host cell–virus interactions
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a severe complication of natalizumab therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), which is often accompanied by an immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) after removal of the drug. We describe a patient with MS who presented with simultaneous PML-IRIS 2 months after stopping natalizumab for other reasons.
Case Report and Results:
The patient had widespread PML and severe IRIS. He received corticosteroids and displayed a vigorous JC virus–specific cellular immune response. Elevated myoinositol and lipid/creatine peaks measured in PML lesions by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) corresponded to episodes of contrast enhancement on MRI scans and persisted after the enhancement subsided. He demonstrated steady clinical improvement, but developed marked residual atrophy in areas affected by PML and inflammation, as well as seizures.
New enhancing white matter lesions, occurring after discontinuation of natalizumab, can be the manifestation of PML-IRIS rather than an MS exacerbation. Elevated myoinositol and lipid/creatine peaks appear to be more sensitive markers of inflammation in PML lesions than contrast enhancement. 1H-MRS may become useful as a biomarker for PML-IRIS by helping clinicians determine the need for corticosteroid administration and anticipate continuing clinical recovery.
Although the precise pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) remains unclear, many cell populations, including monocytes, macrophages, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and B cells, participate in the inflammatory process. Ongoing research continues to evaluate the critical roles played by B cells in sustaining the chronic inflammatory process of RA. These findings have contributed to the development of targeted therapies that deplete B cells, such as rituximab, as well as inhibitors of B lymphocyte stimulation, such as belimumab. In a phase I trial, belimumab treatment significantly reduced CD20+ levels in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Phase I and phase II trials of rituximab found that rituximab plus methotrexate achieved significantly better American College of Rheumatology 50% responses for patients with RA than those patients receiving monotherapy with methotrexate. These clinical trial data present promising evidence for B cell targeted therapies as future therapeutic options for RA.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) usually occurs in patients with severe immunosuppression, hematological malignancies, chronic inflammatory conditions or receiving organ transplant. Recently, PML has also been observed in patients treated with monoclonal antibodies. By taking advantage of the availability of samples from a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient treated with natalizumab, the antibody anti-α4 integrin, who developed PML and was monitored starting before therapy initiation, we investigated the fate of T and B lymphocytes in the onset of PML. Real-time PCR was used to measure new T- and B-cell production by means of T-cell receptor excision circle (TREC) and K-deleting recombination excision circle (KREC) analysis and to quantify transcripts for CD34, terminal-deoxynucleotidyltransferase, and V pre-B lymphocyte gene 1. T- and B-cell subsets and T-cell heterogeneity were measured by flow cytometry and spectratyping. The data were compared to those of untreated and natalizumab-treated MS patients and healthy donors. Before therapy, a patient who developed PML had a low TREC and KREC number; TRECs remained low, while KRECs and pre-B lymphocyte gene 1 transcripts peaked at 6 months of therapy and then decreased at PML diagnosis. Flow cytometry confirmed the deficient number of newly produced T lymphocytes, counterbalanced by an increase in TEMRA cells. The percentage of naive B cells increased by approximately 70% after 6 months of therapy, but B lymphocyte number remained low for the entire treatment period. T-cell heterogeneity and immunoglobulins were reduced.
Although performed in a single patient, all results showed that an immune deficit, together with an increase in newly produced B cells a few months after therapy initiation, may predispose the patient to PML. These findings indicate the TREC/KREC assay is a potential tool to identify patients at risk of developing PML and may provide insights into the immunological involvement of monoclonal antibody-associated therapies.
JC virus (JCV) is a polyomavirus that infects human oligodendrocytes, leading to development of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), an often fatal demyelinating disease occurring in immunocompromised individuals. Currently there are no effective therapies for the treatment of PML that result in clearance of JCV from the brain. Cidofovir (CDV) is an acyclic nucleoside phosphonate that inhibits DNA polymerases and has been used for the treatment of PML. However, CDV demonstrated little efficacy as a treatment for PML and causes substantial side effects to patients. To improve efficacy and reduce the toxicity of CDV, a lipid-ester derivative, CMX001, was generated by Chimerix and is currently in multicenter phase II clinical trials for the prevention or control of cytomegalovirus infection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients and of BK virus in the urine of stem cell or renal allograft recipients. CMX001 caused minimal cytotoxic effects in human fetal brain SVG cells when used at concentrations between 0.01 μM and 0.1 μM. CMX001 resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the number of JCV-infected cells during initial infection and nearly eliminated JCV-infected cells during an established infection. In addition, CMX001 treatment resulted in a 60% reduction in JCV DNA copy number during initial infection, which suggests that suppression of JCV infection by CMX001 is likely due to inhibition of virus DNA replication. This study demonstrates that CMX001 suppresses JCV infection at concentrations that have limited toxicity to human brain cells, indicating its potential use to limit JCV replication in infected patients.
The relationship between antiCD20 therapy with rituximab and the lymphocytes phenotype in patients with rheumatoid arthritis was investigated, with an attempt to establish a relationship between commonly used clinical activity indices and variations in leukocyte count, in particular natural killer (NK) lymphocytes.
Patients with seropositive (cyclic citrullinated peptides and rheumatoid factor positive) rheumatoid arthritis (according to the American College of Rheumatology 1987 criteria) refractory to conventional and antitumor necrosis factor-alpha agents who were subsequently treated with rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against CD20, were enrolled between January 2009 and September 2009. All subjects were treated with rituximab standard rheumatologic dose of 1.0 g on days 1 and 15 every 6 months for at least 2 years. A clinical evaluation was performed at baseline and subsequently every 3 months thereafter. At each assessment activated NK (CD56+/CD16+/CD54bright) cell count was collected and disease activity was assessed using Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints and the Simplified Disease Activity Index (SDAI).
Thirty-four patients were enrolled (mean age ± standard deviation: 54.8 ± 12.8 years). Basal SDAI was 21.75 ± 5.4 and NK cell count mean value was 157.6 ± 90. After 24 months, SDAI was 14 ± 1.2 and NK cell count mean value was 301.7 ± 21 (P < 0.05). An inverted correlation between SDAI and NK count was observed at 3 months (r = −0.36, P < 0.05), 6 months (r = −0.48, P < 0.45), 9 months (r = −0.47, P < 0.05), 12 months (r = −0.41, P < 0.01), 15 months (r = −0.58, P < 0.05), 18 months (r = −0.53, P < 0.05), 21 months (r = −0.68, P < 0.05), and 24 months (r = −0.61, P < 0.05). A linear regression model between all variables collected and SDAI/Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints at 6 months and 12 months confirmed a significant relationship between SDAI/Disease Activity Score in 28 Joints and NK cell count.
The data confirm the clinical efficacy of rituximab and suggests the use of NK cells as a predictor of clinical response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
NK cells; rituximab; predictor; response; rheumatoid arthritis
Natalizumab is an approved medication for highly active multiple sclerosis (MS). Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) may occur as a severe side effect of this drug. Here, we describe pathological and radiological characteristics of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), which occurs in natalizumab-associated PML after the cessation of therapy, and we differentiate it from ongoing PML. Brain biopsy tissue and MRI scans from five MS patients with natalizumab-associated PML were analyzed and their histology compared with non-MS PML. Histology showed an extensive CD8-dominated T cell infiltrate and numerous macrophages within lesions, and in nondemyelinated white and grey matter, in four out of five cases. Few or no virally infected cells were found. This was indicative of IRIS as known from HIV patients with PML. Outstandingly high numbers of plasma cells were present as compared to non-MS PML and typical MS lesions. MRI was compatible with IRIS, revealing enlarging lesions with a band-like or speckled contrast enhancement either at the lesion edge or within lesions. Only the fifth patient showed typical PML pathology, with low inflammation and high numbers of virally infected cells. This patient showed a similar interval between drug withdrawal and biopsy (3.5 months) to the rest of the cohort (range 2.5–4 months). MRI could not differentiate between PML-associated IRIS and ongoing PML. We describe in detail the histopathology of IRIS in natalizumab-associated PML. PML–IRIS, ongoing PML infection, and MS exacerbation may be impossible to discern clinically alone. MRI may provide some clues for distinguishing different pathologies that can be differentiated histologically. In our individual cases, biopsy helped to clarify diagnoses in natalizumab-associated PML.
IRIS; Natalizumab; PML; MS; Pathology; MRI
To study the outcome of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and with natalizumab-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS).
MedWatch reports from Biogen-Idec (manufacturer of natalizumab, Tysabri®) were reviewed which comprised all 42 cases of natalizumab-related PML cases since its reintroduction until March 2010.
All except 2 patients with natalizumab-related PML were managed by discontinuation of natalizumab and plasmapheresis/immunoadsorption (PLEX/IA). Seventeen patients had contrast enhancement of PML lesions on neuroimaging at the time of diagnosis before withdrawal/removal of natalizumab (early-PML-IRIS) and 23 patients developed contrast enhancement only after withdrawal/removal of natalizumab (late-PML-IRIS). All patients developed IRIS. IRIS was defined as worsening of neurologic deficits during the immune reconstitution following discontinuation of natalizumab, corroborated by inflammatory changes on neuroimaging. Following PLEX/IA, JC viral load in CSF increased by >10 fold in those with early-PML-IRIS but <2 fold in late-PML-IRIS. IRIS developed earlier and was more severe in early-PML-IRIS (p < 0.05). At the last follow-up, all patients had worse EDSS scores but this was higher in patients with early-PML-IRIS compared to those with late-PML-IRIS (p > 0.05). Mortality was comparable between the 2 groups, 29.4 ± 11% vs 21.7 ± 8.8%. Corticosteroid therapy during IRIS was associated with better Expanded Disability Status Scale outcome, p < 0.05.
Early immunologic rebound in natalizumab-associated PML has worse survival and neurologic outcome. PLEX/IA may accelerate IRIS and its impact on the final outcome is unclear. Corticosteroid therapy provides a modest benefit and needs to be systemically studied in a controlled manner in the management of natalizumab-associated PML-IRIS.