Daclizumab HYP versus Interferon Beta-1a in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

N Engl J Med. 2015 Oct 8;373(15):1418-28. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1501481.


Background: Daclizumab high-yield process (HYP) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to CD25 (alpha subunit of the interleukin-2 receptor) and modulates interleukin-2 signaling. Abnormalities in interleukin-2 signaling have been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, phase 3 study involving 1841 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis to compare daclizumab HYP, administered subcutaneously at a dose of 150 mg every 4 weeks, with interferon beta-1a, administered intramuscularly at a dose of 30 μg once weekly, for up to 144 weeks. The primary end point was the annualized relapse rate.

Results: The annualized relapse rate was lower with daclizumab HYP than with interferon beta-1a (0.22 vs. 0.39; 45% lower rate with daclizumab HYP; P<0.001). The number of new or newly enlarged hyperintense lesions on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over a period of 96 weeks was lower with daclizumab HYP than with interferon beta-1a (4.3 vs. 9.4; 54% lower number of lesions with daclizumab HYP; P<0.001). At week 144, the estimated incidence of disability progression confirmed at 12 weeks was 16% with daclizumab HYP and 20% with interferon beta-1a (P=0.16). Serious adverse events, excluding relapse of multiple sclerosis, were reported in 15% of the patients in the daclizumab HYP group and in 10% of those in the interferon beta-1a group. Infections were more common in the daclizumab HYP group than in the interferon beta-1a group (in 65% vs. 57% of the patients, including serious infection in 4% vs. 2%), as were cutaneous events such as rash or eczema (in 37% vs. 19%, including serious events in 2% vs. <1%) and elevations in liver aminotransferase levels that were more than 5 times the upper limit of the normal range (in 6% vs. 3%).

Conclusions: Among patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, daclizumab HYP showed efficacy superior to that of interferon beta-1a with regard to the annualized relapse rate and lesions, as assessed by means of MRI, but was not associated with a significantly lower risk of disability progression confirmed at 12 weeks. The rates of infection, rash, and abnormalities on liver-function testing were higher with daclizumab HYP than with interferon beta-1a. (Funded by Biogen and AbbVie Biotherapeutics; DECIDE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01064401.).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Daclizumab
  • Disease Progression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon beta-1a
  • Interferon-beta / adverse effects
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Interferon-beta
  • Daclizumab
  • Interferon beta-1a

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01064401