Objective: To compare natalizumab and fingolimod on both clinical and MRI outcomes in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) from 27 multiple sclerosis centers participating in the French follow-up cohort Observatoire of Multiple Sclerosis.
Methods: Patients with RRMS included in the study were aged from 18 to 65 years with an Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 0-5.5 and an available brain MRI performed within the year before treatment initiation. The data were collected for 326 patients treated with natalizumab and 303 with fingolimod. The statistical analysis was performed using 2 different methods: logistic regression and propensity scores (inverse probability treatment weighting).
Results: The confounder-adjusted proportion of patients with at least one relapse within the first and second year of treatment was lower in natalizumab-treated patients compared to the fingolimod group (21.1% vs 30.4% at first year, p = 0.0092; and 30.9% vs 41.7% at second year, p = 0.0059) and supported the trend observed in nonadjusted analysis (21.2% vs 27.1% at 1 year, p = 0.0775). Such statistically significant associations were also observed for gadolinium (Gd)-enhancing lesions and new T2 lesions at both 1 year (Gd-enhancing lesions: 9.3% vs 29.8%, p < 0.0001; new T2 lesions: 10.6% vs 29.6%, p < 0.0001) and 2 years (Gd-enhancing lesions: 9.1% vs 22.1%, p = 0.0025; new T2 lesions: 16.9% vs 34.1%, p = 0.0010) post treatment initiation.
Conclusion: Taken together, these results suggest the superiority of natalizumab over fingolimod to prevent relapses and new T2 and Gd-enhancing lesions at 1 and 2 years.
Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that for patients with RRMS, natalizumab decreases the proportion of patients with at least one relapse within the first year of treatment compared to fingolimod.
© 2016 American Academy of Neurology.