Background: In natalizumab-treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered as a sensitive tool in detecting both MS disease activity and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
Objective: To investigate the performance of neuroradiologists using brain MRI in detecting new MS lesions and asymptomatic PML lesions and in differentiating between MS and PML lesions in natalizumab-treated MS patients. The secondary aim was to investigate interrater variability.
Methods: In this retrospective diagnostic study, four blinded neuroradiologists assessed reference and follow-up brain MRI scans of 48 natalizumab-treated MS patients with new asymptomatic PML lesions (n = 21) or new MS lesions (n = 20) or no new lesions (n = 7). Sensitivity and specificity for detection of new lesions in general (MS and PML lesions), MS and PML lesion differentiation, and PML detection were determined. Interrater agreement was calculated.
Results: Overall sensitivity and specificity for the detection of new lesions, regardless of the nature of the lesions, were 77.4% and 89.3%, respectively; for PML-MS lesion differentiation, 74.2% and 84.7%, respectively; and for asymptomatic PML lesion detection, 59.5% and 91.7%, respectively. Interrater agreement for the tested categories was fair to moderate.
Conclusion: The diagnostic performance of trained neuroradiologists using brain MRI in pharmacovigilance of natalizumab-treated MS patients is moderately good. Interrater agreement among trained readers is fair to moderate.
Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); natalizumab; pharmacovigilance; progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
© The Author(s), 2015.