Potential markers for sample size estimations in hereditary spastic paraplegia type 5

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2021 Sep 19;16(1):391. doi: 10.1186/s13023-021-02014-w.


Background: Aim to identify potential biomarkers to assess therapeutic efficacy for hereditary spastic paraplegias type 5 (SPG5) by investigating the clinical, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study to compare SPG5 patients with age- and sex-matched healthy controls who underwent conventional and quantitative MRI techniques of spinal cord (C1-T9) and brain. SPG5 patients also underwent assessment for clinical status and CSF biomarkers (27-hydroxycholesterol, neurofilament light). We identified a set of markers with standardized effect sizes (|t|> 0.5) to estimate sample sizes for disease progression (disease duration > 14 years vs. ≤ 14 years).

Results: Seventeen genetically confirmed SPG5 patients (11 men, 6 women; age range, 13-49 years; median disease duration, 14 years) were enrolled. Compared to healthy controls, the total spinal cord area (SCA) of SPG5 patients was reduced particularly at the thoracic levels (cervical levels: 12-27%; thoracic levels 41-60%). Patients did not show significant alterations of brain signal abnormalities or atrophy relative to controls. A total of 10 surrogate markers were selected and a minimum sample size was achieved with the measurement of SCA on T9 (n = 22) much less that what would be required if using clinical disability assessment (n = 124).

Conclusions: SPG5 patients showed distinct MRI features of spinal cord atrophy without significant brain alterations. Our finding supports the measurements of spinal cord on T9 level as potential endpoint for SPG5 clinical trials. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04006418. Registered 05 July 2019, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04006418?term=NCT04006418&draw=2&rank=1 .

Keywords: Biomarkers; Hereditary; Magnetic resonance imaging; Sample size; Spastic paraplegia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sample Size
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary* / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04006418