To determine whether immunosuppression by total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) slowed deterioration of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), functional impairment score and blood lymphocyte counts were compared at 6-month intervals through 4 years following treatment of MS patients by either TLI (n = 27) or sham irradiation (n = 21). At each interval, 20 to 30% fewer TLI-treated patients had deteriorated (p < 0.05 at 6, 12, and 18 months), and the difference in mean functional impairment score between groups became progressively greater (p < 0.01 at 42 and 48 months). Benefit accrued principally to the 17 TLI-treated patients with absolute blood lymphocyte counts < 900/mm3 3 months after treatment, whose mean functional impairment score remained within 0.6 units of baseline (p = NS), whereas the ten TLI patients with higher post-treatment lymphocyte counts had progressive deterioration (p < 0.05 to p < 0.001 versus TLI-treated patients with lower lymphocyte counts at all intervals except 30 months) and had deteriorated by more than 5 functional scale units by 42 and 48 months. Side effects were minor and complications rare in TLI-treated patients, but one TLI-treated patient developed staphylococcal sepsis. Thus, TLI slows deterioration of chronic progresive MS, with what appears to be enduring benefit through 4 years compartmented to patients with greater induced lymphopenia. Modification of lymphoid irradiation regimens to increase the proportion of MS patients who achieve a favorable degree of lymphopenia and to avert functional hyposplenism may further improve the benefit/risk ratio.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Issue number||7 SUPPL. 2|
|State||Published - 1988|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology