Patient-specific factors modulate leukocyte response in dimethyl fumarate treated MS patients

Myla D. Goldman, Lauren Dwyer, Rachael Coleman, Min Woong Sohn, Olaf Stuve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective Determine if patient-specific factors modulate absolute lymphocyte count (ALC), neutrophil count (ANC), and/or Neutrophile-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF) treated patients. Methods A retrospective study of patients who initiated DMF between 2013–2018. A multicenter study of two MS clinics: Charlottesville, VA (UVA) and Dallas, TX (DaVA) Results 103 patients (67-UVA, 36-DaVA) met eligibility. At baseline, the DaVa population was younger (mean±sd: 38.6±9.0 vs 42.2±12.5, p 0.152) and had a higher proportion of males (61% vs. 35%), consistent with a veteran cohort. Pre-treatment, all other laboratory parameters were similar between the two groups. On treatment there was a 30% lowering of mean ALC, with 3% having grade-3 lymphopenia (ALC < 500). Sustained neutropenia occurred in 3.9% of patients and was more common in males. Over 50% of patients had a high NLR at baseline, with a further 44% increase in NLR on-treatment. Age was significantly predictive of lymphopenia, with grade-3 lymphopenia found in 33% of patients ≥ 55 years. Neutropenia was more common in males. Serum BG (sBG) has modest correlation to leukocyte parameters. BMI was not correlated with any leukocyte-related outcomes. Conclusions Patient-specific factors, specifically–age, sex, and serum blood glucose, modulate leukocyte response and ratios in DMF treated MS patients. Age appears to be a relevant predictor of lymphopenia and should be a factor in treatment decision making. Neutropenia, independent of lymphopenia, can occur and males may be at increased risk. High sBG may impact leukocyte count and ratios in MS patients and merits further study, particularly in patients with diabetes. NLR is abnormal in MS and increased with DMF-treatment, the clinical implications of this will require further study.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228617
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Goldman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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