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More MS news articles for March 2004

Interferon-beta-1b slows progression of atrophy in RRMS: Three-year follow-up in NAb- and NAb+ patients

Neurology. 2004 Mar 9;62(5):719-25
Frank JA, Richert N, Bash C, Stone L, Calabresi PA, Lewis B, Stone R, Howard T, McFarland HF.
Experimental Neuroimaging Section, Lab of Diagnostic Radiology Research, NINDS, NIH, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, USA


To determine the effect of interferon-beta-1b (IFNbeta-1b) treatment on total contrast-enhancing lesions (CEL), white matter lesion load (WMLL), and cerebral atrophy (CA) in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) using serial monthly MRI.


An open-label baseline-vs-treatment crossover trial was conducted with 30 RRMS patients monitored during a 6-month baseline and up to 36 months on treatment with IFNbeta-1b.

Monthly MRI exams and neurologic exams using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) were performed.


The percentage changes from baseline for years 1, 2, and 3 on IFNbeta-1b were as follows: brain volume (BV) = -1.35, -1.48, and -1.68%; CEL = -76.5, -60.1, and -54.7%; WMLL = -12.2, -9.8, and -10.4%.

There was no difference in the BV, CEL, or WMLL for between-year comparisons, and the decrease in BV from year 1 to years 2 and 3 was less than the change from baseline to year 1.

EDSS did increase (p < 0.001) when comparing the last 3 months of baseline (2.8 +/- 2.1) and the last 3 months on IFNbeta-1b (3.6 +/- 2.1).

Eleven patients developed neutralizing antibody (NAb) during the study.

The effect of IFNbeta-1b on CEL and WMLL was significantly reduced in NAb+ patients compared with NAb- patients (p < 0.003).


IFNbeta-1b decreases contrast-enhancing lesions and white matter lesion load over 3 years on therapy and slows the progression in cerebral atrophy during years 2 and 3.