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Assessment of JC virus DNA in blood and urine from natalizumab-treated patients.

Author(s): Rudick RA, O'Connor PW, Polman CH, Goodman AD, Ray SS, Griffith NM, Jurgensen SA, Gorelik L, Forrestal F, Sandrock AW, E Goelz S

Affiliation(s): Department of Neurology, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA. rudickr@ccf.org

Publication date & source: 2010-09, Ann Neurol., 68(3):304-10.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Multicenter Study

OBJECTIVE: Analyses were conducted to determine the clinical utility of measuring JC virus (JCV) DNA in blood or urine of natalizumab-treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to predict the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). METHODS: A total of 12,850 blood and urine samples from nearly 1,400 patients participating in natalizumab clinical trials were tested for JCV DNA using a commercially available quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay. A subset of these samples was also tested using a more sensitive qPCR assay developed at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). RESULTS: At the time natalizumab dosing was suspended, JCV DNA was detected in plasma by the commercial assay in 4 of 1,397 (0.3%) patients; the NIH assay confirmed these positive samples and detected JCV DNA in an additional 2 of 205 (1%) patients who tested negative with the commercial assay. None of these 6 JCV DNA positive patients developed PML. In a 48-week study testing the safety of natalizumab redosing, JCV DNA was detected in plasma of 6 of 1,094 (0.3%) patients, none of whom developed PML. Urine at baseline and week 48 was assessed in 224 patients; 58 (26%) were positive at baseline, and 55 (25%) were positive after 48 weeks of natalizumab, treatment. JCV DNA was not detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from any of these 1,094 patients before or after natalizumab treatment. In 5 patients who developed PML, JCV DNA was not detected in blood at any time point before symptoms first occurred. INTERPRETATION: Measuring JCV DNA in blood or urine with currently available methods is unlikely to be useful for predicting PML risk in natalizumab-treated MS patients.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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