Ocrelizumab May Improve Cognitive Function in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

Treatment Overview
Treatment Overview
Researchers sought to determine whether treatment with ocrelizumab improved measures of cognitive function better than interferon beta 1-a.

Compared with interferon beta-1a, treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) with ocrelizumab resulted in improved cognitive performance, according to results from a pooled analysis of the phase 3 OPERA studies (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01247324, NCT01412333).

The results were presented at the 2017 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting, May 24-27 in New Orleans. 

Previous reports have established ocrelizumab’s superiority over interferon beta-1a in reducing MS relapses, disability and disease progression, and lesion load and brain atrophy in patients with relapsing MS. The current study sought to evaluate the effect of treatment with ocrelizumab on measurements of cognitive function, including the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), which measure processing speed and working memory.

The PASAT and SDMT assessments were performed at baseline and every 12 weeks thereafter. In the pooled population, mean (SE) baseline PASAT and SDMT scores were 42.58 (0.460) and 47.34 (0.641) in patients receiving ocrelizumab vs 41.70 (0.477) and 47.31 (0.639) in patient treated with interferon beta-1a, respectively. A modest correlation was observed between SDMT and PASAT scores (0.36; P <.0001).

At 96 weeks, improvement in mean PASAT scores in patients receiving ocrelizumab were greater than in those receiving interferon beta-1a (6.520; SE 0.35, 95% CI, 5.84-7.20 vs 5.651; SE 0.36, 95% CI, 4.95-6.35; P =.0531). Similar improvements were observed in SDMT scores in patients receiving ocrelizumab vs interferon beta-1a (96 weeks: 5.430; SE 0.52, 95% CI, 4.41-6.46 vs 4.046; SE 0.54, 95% CI, 3.00-5.10; P =.0422).

Overall, treatment with ocrelizumab improves cognitive performance in measures of processing speed and working memory better than interferon beta-1a.

For more coverage of CMSC 2017, go here

Disclosures: The study was supported by F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Genentech. Drs Miller, de Seze, Hauser, Kappos, Wolinsky, and Lublin report multiple relationships with industry. Drs Han and Julian and Dr Napieralski are employed by Genentech and F. Hoffmann-La Roche, respectively. See the abstract for a full list of disclosures.


Miller AE, de Seze J, Hauser SL, et al. The effect of ocrelizumab on cognitive functioning in relapsing multiple sclerosis: analysis of the phase 3 interferon beta-1a-controlled OPERA studies. Presented at: 2017 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting. May 24-27, 2017; New Orleans, LA. Abstract DX09.