Evaluation of ocrelizumab in older progressive multiple sclerosis patients

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021 Oct;55:103171. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2021.103171. Epub 2021 Jul 25.


Background: Seminal trials evaluating anti-CD20 therapy in progressive MS primarily found benefit in younger, less-disabled patients with more inflammatory disease activity. The risks and benefits of ocrelizumab use in older patients with progressive froms of MS are not known.

Methods: Retrospective chart review was performed for patients older than 55 with primary or secondary progressive MS at the time of ocrelizumab initiation. Clinical endpoints from 2 years prior to anti-CD20 therapy served as a within-subject control.

Results: Data was reviewed for 56 patients older than the age of 55 at the time of ocrelizumab initiation. Of 37 patients with 2-years of follow up on ocrelizumab, 40%(n=15) experienced confirmed disability progression (CDP) while 60% (n=22) remained stable or improved. 24 patients had data available for the within-subject control; for these patients, median age was 67, baseline EDSS 6.3, and disease duration 20.5 years. Prior to anti-CD20 therapy, 58% (n=14) of patients remained stable and 42% (n=10) experienced CDP. After ocrelizumab initiation, 71% (n=17) remained stable and 29% (n=7) experienced CDP. There was no difference between CDP (p=0.54) or change in EDSS (p=0.09) between time periods. Ocrelizumab was well tolerated and no difference in infection rate was seen using the within-subject control.

Conclusions: We found no difference in clinical endpoints for patients on ocrelizumab compared to prior to anti-CD20 therapy; however, we could not exclude a modest effect given our sample size. Larger trials are needed to evaluate ocrelizumab use in this understudied MS subpopulation.

Keywords: Chronic progressive; Disease modifying drugs; Immunosenescence; Multiple sclerosis; Ocrelizumab.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / adverse effects
  • Multiple Sclerosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive* / drug therapy
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunologic Factors
  • ocrelizumab