Background: Recent short-term clinical trials in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) have indicated greater disease variability in terms of progression than expected. In addition, as average life-expectancy increases, reliable data is required on clinical progression in the older DMD population.
Objective: To determine the effects of corticosteroids on major clinical outcomes of DMD in a large multinational cohort of genetically confirmed DMD patients.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study we analysed clinical data from 5345 genetically confirmed DMD patients from 31 countries held within the TREAT-NMD global DMD database. For analysis patients were categorised by corticosteroid background and further stratified by age.
Results: Loss of ambulation in non-steroid treated patients was 10 years and in corticosteroid treated patients 13 years old (p = 0.0001). Corticosteroid treated patients were less likely to need scoliosis surgery (p < 0.001) or ventilatory support (p < 0.001) and there was a mild cardioprotective effect of corticosteroids in the patient population aged 20 years and older (p = 0.0035). Patients with a single deletion of exon 45 showed an increased survival in contrast to other single exon deletions.
Conclusions: This study provides data on clinical outcomes of DMD across many healthcare settings and including a sizeable cohort of older patients. Our data confirm the benefits of corticosteroid treatment on ambulation, need for scoliosis surgery, ventilation and, to a lesser extent, cardiomyopathy. This study underlines the importance of data collection via patient registries and the critical role of multi-centre collaboration in the rare disease field.
Keywords: DMD; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Neuromuscular diseases; TREAT-NMD.