Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation as a first-line disease-modifying therapy in patients with ‘aggressive’ multiple sclerosis

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J Das, JA Snowden, J Burman, ...
First Published February 10, 2021 Research Article Find in PubMed



Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) is an effective treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have highly active disease, despite the use of standard disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). However, the optimal time for offering AHSCT to patients with ‘aggressive’ MS is yet to be established.


The objective was to explore the safety and efficacy of AHSCT as a first-line DMT in patients with ‘aggressive’ MS.


All patients with ‘aggressive’ MS who received AHSCT as a first-line DMT in five European and North American centres were retrospectively evaluated.


Twenty patients were identified. The median interval between diagnosis and AHSCT was 5 (1–20) months. All had multiple poor prognostic markers with a median pre-transplant Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 5.0 (1.5–9.5). After a median follow-up of 30 (12–118) months, the median EDSS score improved to 2.0 (0–6.5, p < 0.0001). No patient had further relapses. Three had residual magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) disease activities in the first 6 months post-transplant, but no further new or enhancing lesions were observed in subsequent scans.


AHSCT is safe and effective as a first-line DMT in inducing rapid and sustained remission in patients with ‘aggressive’ MS.