Open Access Open Badges Research article

The effect of scheduled antibody testing on treatment patterns in interferon-treated patients with multiple sclerosis

Edward Fox1*, Barbara Green2, Clyde Markowitz3, Ronald Murray4, Andrew D Goodman5, Stephen J Glenski6, Pippa Loupe6 and Jo Nita Cogburn6

Author Affiliations

1 Central Texas Neurology Consultants, 16040 Park Valley Drive, Suite 100, Round Rock, TX 78681, USA

2 West County MS Center, Mercy Hospital, St. Louis, MO, USA

3 MS Center, Neurology Department, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

4 Multiple Sclerosis Clinic of Colorado, Lone Tree, CO, USA

5 Neurology Department, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA

6 Teva Pharmaceuticals, Kansas City, MO, USA

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BMC Neurology 2014, 14:73  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-14-73

Published: 4 April 2014



Many patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with high-dose interferon-β (IFNβ) develop serum binding antibodies (BAb) and neutralizing antibodies (NAb). NAb reduces the biological activity of IFNβ, which contributes to clinical failure in these patients. We investigated whether access to antibody (Ab) test results would alter usual care of (IFNβ)-treated patients and whether BAb could predict NAb.


This was a randomized, controlled, open-label, parallel-group, multicenter study in patients with multiple sclerosis. Subjects (n = 1358) were randomly assigned to Ab testing or usual care. BAb and NAb titres were measured using standard assays. Primary and secondary outcomes were the proportion of patients whose IFNβ therapy changed and the type of and reasons for therapy changes.


Therapy changes differed between the Ab testing and usual care arms (19.6% and 14.0%, respectively; p = 0 · 004). Results from Ab testing were more frequently reported as the reason for therapy change in the Ab testing arm than in the usual care arm (p < 0.0001). NAb and BAb positivity significantly increased the likelihood of therapy change and reduced IFNβ-associated adverse events. BAb titres were a significant predictor of NAb positivity (p = 0.0012). Initial BAb-positive and NAb-positive status in both study arms had a significant impact on the overall number of patients with a therapy change (p < 0.05).


Access to Ab test results impacted therapy management. BAb titres can predict NAb positivity in patients on high-dose IFNβ.

Antibody testing; Interferon-β; Neutralizing antibodies; Serum binding antibodies