Diagnostic performance of brain MRI in pharmacovigilance of natalizumab-treated MS patients

Mike P. Wattjes, Martijn T. Wijburg, Anke Vennegoor, Birgit I. Witte, Stefan D. Roosendaal, Esther Sanchez, Yaou Liu, Carine O. Martins Jarnalo, Nancy D. Richert, Bernard M. J. Uitdehaag, Frederik Barkhof, Joep Killestein

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In natalizumab-treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered as a sensitive tool in detecting both MS disease activity and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). To investigate the performance of neuroradiologists using brain MRI in detecting new MS lesions and asymptomatic PML lesions and in differentiating between MS and PML lesions in natalizumab-treated MS patients. The secondary aim was to investigate interrater variability. In this retrospective diagnostic study, four blinded neuroradiologists assessed reference and follow-up brain MRI scans of 48 natalizumab-treated MS patients with new asymptomatic PML lesions (n = 21) or new MS lesions (n = 20) or no new lesions (n = 7). Sensitivity and specificity for detection of new lesions in general (MS and PML lesions), MS and PML lesion differentiation, and PML detection were determined. Interrater agreement was calculated. Overall sensitivity and specificity for the detection of new lesions, regardless of the nature of the lesions, were 77.4% and 89.3%, respectively; for PML-MS lesion differentiation, 74.2% and 84.7%, respectively; and for asymptomatic PML lesion detection, 59.5% and 91.7%, respectively. Interrater agreement for the tested categories was fair to moderate. The diagnostic performance of trained neuroradiologists using brain MRI in pharmacovigilance of natalizumab-treated MS patients is moderately good. Interrater agreement among trained readers is fair to moderate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174-1183
JournalMultiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • natalizumab
  • pharmacovigilance
  • progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)

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