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New horizons for multiple sclerosis therapeutics: milestones in the development of ocrelizumab

Authors Frau J, Coghe G, Lorefice L, Fenu G, Cocco E

Received 1 March 2018

Accepted for publication 29 March 2018

Published 23 April 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 1093—1099

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S147874

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Jessica Frau,* Giancarlo Coghe,* Lorena Lorefice, Giuseppe Fenu, Eleonora Cocco

Multiple Sclerosis Center Binaghi Hospital, Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system, and both T and B cells are involved in its pathogenesis. The vast majority of disease-modifying drugs used for MS act on the inflammatory component of the disease and are approved for use in relapsing-remitting (RR) patients. Ocrelizumab (OCR) is the only MS drug that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) not only for patients with RRMS but also for patients with primary progressive (PP) MS. OCR is a humanized anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that can deplete the targeted B cells through antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. Treatment involves administration by intravenous infusion every 6 months. OCR can cause long-lasting B-cell depletion and change the pool of reconstituted B cells. Phase III clinical trials have confirmed the results of previous Phase II studies. In particular, OPERA I and II trials, which were performed in patients with RRMS, showed a reduction in the annualized relapse rate, the risk of disability progression, and the number of new/enlarging T2 lesions and enhancing lesions measured using brain magnetic resonance. The ORATORIO trial, performed in PP subjects, showed that OCR can reduce disability progression, improve performance on the timed 25-foot walk, and decrease the total volume of T2 lesions and the mean number of new or enlarging T2 lesions. The most frequent adverse events were the infusion-related reactions and infections. Infections were mostly nasopharyngitis, as well as upper respiratory and urinary tract infections. OCR gives no indication for severe or opportunistic infections. There is not a clear increased risk of malignancies. Nevertheless, it could not be excluded. Real-life registries will provide more information about the long-term safety, the risk of exposure during pregnancy, and the risk of rare adverse events. In this review, we analyze the evidence regarding the efficacy and the safety of OCR.

Keywords: multiple sclerosis, ocrelizumab, anti-CD20 antibody

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