Objective: The aim of this work was to evaluate the preprogressive phase in subjects with radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) who evolve to primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).
Methods: A multicenter RIS cohort was previously established. Demographic, clinical, and radiological characteristics of subjects with RIS that evolved directly to PPMS were compared to those that developed a relapsing disease course from onset (clinically isolated syndrome [CIS] or relapsing-remitting MS) and were also compared to two other population- and clinic-based PPMS cohorts.
Results: Of the 453 subjects with RIS, 128 evolved to symptomatic MS during the follow-up (113 developed a first acute clinical event consistent with CIS/MS, 15 evolved to PPMS). PPMS prevalence (11.7%) and onset age (mean ± standard deviation; 49.1 ± 12.1) in the RIS group were comparable to other PPMS populations (p > 0.05). Median time to PPMS was 3.5 years (range, 1.6-5.4). RIS evolved to PPMS more commonly in men (p = 0.005) and at an older age (p < 0.001) when compared to CIS/MS, independent of follow-up duration. Subjects who evolved to PPMS had more spinal cord lesions (100%) before symptomatic evolution than those that developed CIS/MS (64%) and those that remained asymptomatic (23%) within the follow-up period (P = 0.005). Other MRI characteristics in the preprogressive phase of PPMS were indistinguishable from CIS/MS.
Interpretation: Subjects with RIS evolve to PPMS at the same frequency as expected from general MS populations in an age-dependent manner. Besides age, unequivocal presence of spinal cord lesions and being male predicted evolution to PPMS. Our findings further suggest that RIS is biologically part of the MS spectrum.
© 2015 American Neurological Association.