High-dose cyclophosphamide for moderate to severe refractory multiple sclerosis

Douglas E. Gladstone, Kenneth W. Zamkoff, Lauren Krupp, Robert Peyster, Patrick Sibony, Christopher Christodoulou, Emily Locher, Patricia K. Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: High-dose cyclophosphamide is active in immune-mediated illnesses. Objective: To describe the effects of high-dose cyclophosphamide on severe refractory multiple sclerosis. Design, Setting, and Patients: Patients with multiple sclerosis with an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 3.5 or higher after 2 or more Food and Drug Administration-approved disease-modifying therapy regimens were evaluated. Interventions: Patients received 200 mg/kg of cyclophosphamide over 4 days. Main Outcome Measures: Patients had brain magnetic resonance imaging and neuro-ophthalmologic evaluations every 6 months and quarterly EDSS and quality-of-life evaluations for 2 years. Results: Twelve patients were evaluated for clinical response (median follow-up, 15.0 months; follow-up range, 6-24 months). During follow-up, no patients increased their baseline EDSS scores by more than 1.0. Five patients decreased their EDSS scores by 1.0 or more (EDSS score decrease range, 1.0-5.0). Two of 11 patients had a single enhancing lesion at baseline; these lesions resolved after high-dose cyclophosphamide treatment. At 12 months, 1 patient showed 1 new enhancing lesion without a corresponding high-intensity T2-weighted or fluid-attenuated inversion recovery signal. Patients reported improvement in all of the quality-of-life parameters measured. Neurologic improvement involved changes in gait, bladder control, and visual function. Treatment response was seen regardless of the baseline presence or absence of contrast lesion activity. Patient quality-of-life improvement occurred independently of EDSS score changes. In this small group of patients with treatment-refractory multiple sclerosis, high-dose cyclophosphamide was associated with minimal morbidity and improved clinical outcomes. Conclusions: High-dose cyclophosphamide treatment in patients with severe refractory multiple sclerosis can result in disease stabilization, improved functionality, and improved quality of life. Further studies are necessary to determine the most appropriate patients for this treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1388-1393
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of neurology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology


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