Rebaseline no evidence of disease activity (NEDA-3) as a predictor of long-term disease course in a Norwegian multiple sclerosis population

Front Neurol. 2022 Nov 14;13:1034056. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.1034056. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: No evidence of disease activity with three components (NEDA-3) is achieved if the person with MS (pwMS) has no new MRI lesions, no new relapses and no change in Expanded disability status scale (EDSS) over 1 year. Whether NEDA-3 is a good tool in measuring disease activity is up for discussion, but it is superior to the individual parameters separately and user-friendly. There is disagreement on whether NEDA-3 is a good predictor of long-term disability.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study using real-world data with limited selection bias from the complete MS population at two hospitals in the southeast of Norway. We included pwMS diagnosed between 2006 and 2017 who had enough information to determine time to failure of NEDA-3 after diagnosis.

Results: Of 536 pwMS, only 38% achieved NEDA 1 year after diagnosis. PwMS achieving NEDA were more likely to be started on a high efficacy drug as the initial drug, but there were no demographic differences. Mean time to NEDA failure was 3.3 (95% CI 2.9-3.7) years. Starting a high efficiacy therapy was associated with an increased risk of sustaining NEDA as compared to those receiving moderate efficacy therapy. PwMS who achieved NEDA at year one had a mean time to EDSS 6 of 33.8 (95% CI 30.9-36.8) years vs. 30.8 (95% CI 25.0-36.6) years in pwMS who did not achieve NEDA, p < 0.001. When rebaselining NEDA 1 year after diagnosis, 52.2% achieved NEDA in the 1st year after rebaseline, mean time to NEDA failure was 3.4 (95% CI 3.0-3.7) years and mean time to EDSS 6 was 44.5 (95% CI 40.4-48.5) years in pwMS achieving NEDA vs. 29.6 (95% CI 24.2-35.0) years in pwMS not achieving NEDA, p < 0.001. After rebaseline, pwMS with a high efficacy therapy as the initial drug had a mean time from diagnosis to NEDA fail of 4.8 years (95% CI 3.9-5.8) vs. 3.1 years (95% CI 2.7-3.5) in pwMS started on a moderate efficacy therapy, p < 0.001. In pwMS with NEDA failure at year one, 70% failed one, 28% failed two and 2% failed three components. New MRI lesions were the most common cause of NEDA failure (63%), followed by new relapses (50%) and EDSS change (25%).

Conclusion: NEDA-3 from rebaseline after 1 year, once treatment is stabilized, can predict the long-term disease course in MS. Starting a high efficacy DMT is associated with longer time to NEDA failure than moderate therapies. Finally, most pwMS only fail one component and new MRI lesions are the most likely cause of NEDA failure.

Keywords: NEDA 3; high efficacy treatment; multiple sclerosis; no evidence of disease activity; time to EDSS 6.