Neurofilament light-chain response during therapy with antisense oligonucleotide tofersen in SOD1-related ALS: Treatment experience in clinical practice

Muscle Nerve. 2023 Jun;67(6):515-521. doi: 10.1002/mus.27818. Epub 2023 Apr 3.


Introduction/aims: In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene mutations (SOD1-ALS), the antisense oligonucleotide tofersen had been investigated in a phase III study (VALOR) and subsequently introduced in an expanded access program. In this study we assess neurofilament light chain (NfL) before and during tofersen treatment.

Methods: In six SOD1-ALS patients treated with tofersen at three specialized ALS centers in Germany, NfL in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF-NfL) and/or serum (sNfL) were investigated using the ALS Functional Rating Scale Revised (ALSFRS-R) and ALS progression rate (ALS-PR), defined by monthly decline of ALSFRS-R.

Results: Three of the six SOD1-ALS patients reported a negative family history. Three patients harbored a homozygous c.272A > C, p.(Asp91Ala) mutation. These and two other patients showed slower progressing ALS (defined by ALS-PR <0.9), whereas one patient demonstrated rapidly progressing ALS (ALS-PR = 2.66). Mean treatment duration was 6.5 (range 5 to 8) months. In all patients, NfL decreased (mean CSF-NfL: -66%, range -52% to -86%; mean sNfL: -62%, range -36% to -84%). sNfL after 5 months of tofersen treatment was significantly reduced compared with the nearest pretreatment measurement (P = .017). ALS-PR decreased in two patients, whereas no changes in ALSFRS-R were observed in four participants who had very low ALS-PR or ALSFRS-R values before treatment.

Discussion: In this case series, the significant NfL decline after tofersen treatment confirmed its value as response biomarker in an expanded clinical spectrum of SOD1-ALS. Given the previously reported strong correlation between sNfL and ALS progression, the NfL treatment response supports the notion of tofersen having disease-modifying activity.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; neurofilament light chain; tofersen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / drug therapy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / genetics
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filaments
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / therapeutic use
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1 / genetics


  • tofersen
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1
  • Biomarkers
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • SOD1 protein, human