LYON, FRANCE—John Cunningham virus (JCV) antibody status in a large, representative multiple sclerosis (MS) cohort confirms the published JCV antibody prevalence in MS patients. Furthermore, results of a survey of this cohort demonstrated that MS neurologists judge JCV antibody testing as highly relevant in deciding on natalizumab therapy.
Researchers, led by Thomas Berger, MD, from the Clinical Department of Neurology at Innsbruck Medical University in Austria, found that JCV antibody testing is broadly and continuously used in daily clinical practice, as is currently recommended. However, according to their findings, two-thirds of JCV antibody-positive relapsing-remitting MS patients started or continued natalizumab treatment despite the test result, suggesting that treatment decisions are mainly based on the rationale of individual benefit–risk considerations.
Stratify JCV, a highly sensitive and specific test for detecting JCV antibodies, was made available in May 2011 to assess the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in MS patients before initiation or during natalizumab treatment. In October 2011, the Central European Tysabri Advisory Board (CETAB), representing 18 MS centers from six central European countries, created and disseminated a consensus statement on the use of Stratify JCV testing. Dr. Berger and colleagues sought to evaluate the extent to which JCV antibody testing was used in daily clinical practice, thus exploring its relevance to routine treatment decisions.