Specific Patterns of Immune Cell Dynamics May Explain the Early Onset and Prolonged Efficacy of Cladribine Tablets: A MAGNIFY-MS Substudy

Heinz Wiendl, Klaus Schmierer, Suzanne Hodgkinson, Tobias Derfuss, Andrew Chan, Finn Sellebjerg, Anat Achiron, Xavier Montalban, Alexandre Prat, Nicola De Stefano, Frederik Barkhof, Letizia Leocani, Patrick Vermersch, Anita Chudecka, Claire Mwape, Kristina H Holmberg, Ursula Boschert, Sanjeev Roy, MAGNIFY-MS Study Group

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Cladribine tablets cause a reduction in lymphocytes with a predominant effect on B-cell and T-cell counts. The MAGNIFY-MS substudy reports the dynamic changes on multiple peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) subtypes and immunoglobulin (Ig) levels over 12 months after the first course of cladribine tablets in patients with highly active relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS: Immunophenotyping was performed at baseline (predose) and at the end of months 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 after initiating treatment with cladribine tablets. Assessments included lymphocyte subtype counts of CD19+ B cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, CD16+ natural killer cells, plasmablasts, and Igs. Immune cell subtypes were analyzed by flow cytometry, and serum IgG and IgM were analyzed by nephelometric assay. Absolute cell counts and percentage change from baseline were assessed.

RESULTS: The full analysis set included 57 patients. Rapid reductions in median CD19+, CD20+, memory, activated, and naive B-cell counts were detected, reaching nadir by month 2. Thereafter, total CD19+, CD20+, and naive B-cell counts subsequently reconstituted, but memory B cells remained reduced by 93%-87% for the remainder of the study. The decrease in plasmablasts was slower, reaching nadir at month 3. Decrease in T-cell subtypes was also slower and more moderate compared with B-cell subtypes, reaching nadir between months 3 and 6. IgG and IgM levels remained within the normal range over the 12-month study period.

DISCUSSION: Cladribine tablets induce a specific pattern of early and sustained PBMC subtype dynamics in the absence of relevant Ig changes: While total B cells were reduced dramatically, T cells were affected significantly less. Naive B cells recovered toward baseline, naive CD4 and CD8 T cells did not, and memory B cells remained reduced. The results help to explain the unique immune depletion and repopulation architecture regarding onset of action and durability of effects of cladribine tablets while largely maintaining immune competence.

TRIAL REGISTRATION INFORMATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03364036. Date registered: December 06, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurology: Neuroimmunology and NeuroInflammation
Volume10
Issue number1
ISSN2332-7812
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Cladribine/pharmacology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Multiple Sclerosis/drug therapy
  • Tablets
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antigens, CD19
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M

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