Effect of peginterferon beta-1a on MRI measures and achieving no evidence of disease activity: results from a randomized controlled trial in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

BMC Neurol. 2014 Dec 31;14:240. doi: 10.1186/s12883-014-0240-x.


Background: Subcutaneous peginterferon beta-1a provided clinical benefits at Year 1 (placebo-controlled period) of the 2-Year Phase 3 ADVANCE study in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Here we report the effect of peginterferon beta-1a on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) lesions, and no evidence of disease activity (NEDA; absence of clinical [relapses and 12-week confirmed disability progression] and MRI [gadolinium-enhancing, and new or newly-enlarging T2 hyperintense lesions] disease activity) during Year 1.

Methods: RRMS patients (18-65 years; Expanded Disability Status Scale score ≤5) were randomized to double-blind placebo or peginterferon beta-1a 125 μg every 2 or 4 weeks. Sensitivity analyses of last observation carried forward and composite disease activity (using minimal MRI allowance definitions) were conducted.

Results: 1512 patients were randomized and dosed (placebo n = 500; peginterferon beta-1a every 2 [n = 512] or 4 [n = 500] weeks). Every 2 week dosing significantly reduced, versus placebo and every 4 week dosing, the number of new or newly-enlarging T2 hyperintense lesions at Weeks 24 (by 61% and 51%, respectively) and 48 (secondary endpoint; by 67% and 54%, respectively); all p < 0.0001. Every 2 week dosing also provided significant reductions versus placebo and every 4 week dosing in the number of new T1 hypointense, gadolinium-enhancing, and new active (gadolinium-enhancing plus non-enhancing new T2) lesions (all p < 0.0001), as well as the volume of T2 and T1 lesions (p < 0.05) at Weeks 24 and 48. Significantly more patients dosed every 2 weeks had NEDA versus placebo and every 4 weeks (all p < 0.01) from baseline to Week 48 (33.9% versus 15.1% and 21.5%, respectively [odds ratios, ORs: 2.89 and 1.87]), from baseline to Week 24 (41.0% versus 21.9% and 30.7%, [ORs: 2.47 and 1.57]) and from Week 24 to Week 48 (60.2% versus 28.9% and 36.6%, [ORs: 3.71 and 2.62]). Consistent results were seen when allowing for minimal MRI activity.

Conclusion: During Year 1 of ADVANCE, significantly more RRMS patients receiving peginterferon beta-1a every 2 weeks had NEDA, and early and sustained improvements in all MRI endpoints, versus placebo and every 4 week dosing. NEDA sensitivity analyses align with switch strategies in clinical practice settings and provide insight into future responders/non-responders.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00906399.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / pathology
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Contrast Media
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Interferon-beta
  • Gadolinium
  • peginterferon beta-1a

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00906399