Alemtuzumab improves neurological functional systems in treatment-naive relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients

J Neurol Sci. 2016 Apr 15;363:188-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2016.02.025. Epub 2016 Feb 12.


Background: Individual functional system scores (FSS) of the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) play a central role in determining the overall EDSS score in patients with early-stage multiple sclerosis (MS). Alemtuzumab treatment improves preexisting disability for many patients; however, it is unknown whether improvement is specific to certain functional systems.

Objective: We assessed the effect of alemtuzumab on individual FSS of the EDSS.

Methods: CAMMS223 was a 36-month, rater-blinded, phase 2 trial; treatment-naive patients with active relapsing-remitting MS, EDSS ≤3, and symptom onset within 3 years were randomized to annual courses of alemtuzumab or subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (SC IFNB-1a) 44 μg three times weekly.

Results: Alemtuzumab-treated patients had improved outcomes versus SC IFNB-1a patients on most FSS at Month 36; the greatest effect occurred for sensory, pyramidal, and cerebellar FSS. Among patients who experienced 6-month sustained accumulation of disability, clinical worsening occurred most frequently in the brainstem and sensory systems. For patients with 6-month sustained reduction in preexisting disability, pyramidal and sensory systems contributed most frequently to clinical improvement.

Conclusions: Alemtuzumab demonstrated a broad treatment effect in improving preexisting disability. These findings may influence treatment decisions in patients with early, active relapsing-remitting MS displaying neurological deficits. Identifier NCT00050778.

Keywords: Alemtuzumab; Disability; Disease-modifying therapy; Expanded Disability Status Scale; Functional systems; Multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alemtuzumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Alemtuzumab

Associated data