Onset of clinical and MRI efficacy of ocrelizumab in relapsing multiple sclerosis

Frederik Barkhof, Ludwig Kappos, Jerry S. Wolinsky, David K. B. Li, Amit Bar-Or, Hans-Peter Hartung, Shibeshih Belachew, Jian Han, Laura Julian, Annette Sauter, Julie Napieralski, Harold Koendgen, Stephen L. Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess the onset of ocrelizumab efficacy on brain MRI measures of disease activity in the phase II study in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), and relapse rate in the pooled phase III studies in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS). METHODS: Brain MRI activity was determined in the phase II trial at monthly intervals in patients with RRMS receiving placebo, ocrelizumab (600 mg), or intramuscular interferon (IFN) β-1a (30 μg). Annualized relapse rate (ARR; over various epochs) and time to first relapse were analyzed in the pooled population of the phase III OPERA (A Study of Ocrelizumab in Comparison With Interferon Beta-1a [Rebif] in Participants With Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis) I and OPERA II trials in patients with RMS receiving ocrelizumab (600 mg) or subcutaneous IFN-β-1a (44 μg). RESULTS: In patients with RRMS, ocrelizumab reduced the number of new T1 gadolinium-enhancing lesions by week 4 vs placebo (p = 0.042) and by week 8 vs intramuscular IFN-β-1a (p < 0.001). Ocrelizumab also reduced the number of new or enlarging T2 lesions appearing between weeks 4 and 8 vs both placebo and IFN-β-1a (both p < 0.001). In patients with RMS, ocrelizumab significantly reduced ARR (p = 0.005) and the probability of time to first protocol-defined relapse (p = 0.014) vs subcutaneous IFN-β-1a within the first 8 weeks. CONCLUSION: Epoch analysis of MRI-measured lesion activity in the phase II study and relapse rate in the phase III studies consistently revealed a rapid suppression of acute MRI and clinical disease activity following treatment initiation with ocrelizumab in patients with RRMS and RMS, respectively. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class II evidence that for patients with RRMS and RMS, ocrelizumab suppressed MRI activity within 4 weeks and clinical disease activity within 8 weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1778-e1786
Issue number19
Early online date4 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019

Cite this