Dimethyl fumarate treatment shifts the immune environment toward an anti-inflammatory cell profile while maintaining protective humoral immunity


Multiple Sclerosis Journal, Ahead of Print.
Background:Delayed-release dimethyl fumarate (DMF) demonstrates sustained efficacy and safety for relapsing forms of MS. Absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) is reduced initially, then stabilizes on treatment.Objective:PROCLAIM, a 96-week, prospective, open-label, phase 3b study, assessed lymphocyte subsets and immunoglobulin (Ig) levels during 48 and 96 weeks (W) of DMF treatment.Methods:Patients received 240 mg DMF BID. Endpoints: lymphocyte subset count changes (primary); Ig isotypes and ALC changes (secondary); adverse events and relationship between ALC changes and ARR/EDSS (exploratory); and neurofilament assessment (ad hoc).Results:Of 218 patients enrolled, 158 (72%) completed the study. Median ALC decreased 39% from baseline to W96 (BL–W96), stabilizing above the lower limit of normal (baseline: 1.82 × 109/L; W48: 1.06 × 109/L; W96: 1.05 × 109/L). CD4 + and CD8 + T cells correlated highly with ALC from BL–W96 (p < 0.001). Relative to total T cells, naive CD4 + and CD8 + T cells increased, whereas CD4 + and CD8 + central and effector memory T cells decreased. Total IgA, IgG, IgM, and IgG1–4 subclass levels remained stable. Adverse event rates were similar across ALC subgroups. ARR, EDSS, and neurofilament were not correlated with ALCs.Conclusion:Lymphocyte decreases with DMF were maintained over treatment, yet immunoglobulins remained stable. No increase in infection incidence was observed in patients with or without lymphopenia.Support:Biogen


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