Publications & Posters

Serum Neurofilament Light Chain Predicts Long Term Clinical Outcomes In Multiple Sclerosis


Thebault S, Abdoli M, Fereshtehnejad SM, Tessier D, Tabard-Cossa V and Freedman MS.

Sci Rep 1010381 (2020)



Serum neurofilament light chain (NfL) is emerging as an important biomarker in multiple sclerosis (MS). Our objective was to evaluate the prognostic value of serum NfL levels obtained close to the time of MS onset with long-term clinical outcomes. In this prospective cohort study, we identified patients with serum collected within 5 years of first MS symptom onset (baseline) with more than 15 years of routine clinical follow-up. Levels of serum NfL were quantified in patients and matched controls using digital immunoassay (SiMoA HD-1 Analyzer, Quanterix). Sixty-seven patients had a median follow-up of 18.9 years (range 15.0–27.0). The median serum NfL level in patient baseline samples was 10.1 pg/mL, 38.5% higher than median levels in 37 controls (7.26 pg/mL, p = 0.004). Baseline NfL level was most helpful as a sensitive predictive marker to rule out progression; patients with levels less 7.62 pg/mL were 4.3 times less likely to develop an EDSS score of ≥ 4 (p = 0.001) and 7.1 times less likely to develop progressive MS (p = 0.054). Patients with the highest NfL levels (3rd-tertile, > 13.2 pg/mL) progressed most rapidly with an EDSS annual rate of 0.16 (p = 0.004), remaining significant after adjustment for sex, age, and disease-modifying treatment (p = 0.022). This study demonstrates that baseline sNfL is associated with long term clinical disease progression. sNfL may be a sensitive marker of subsequent poor clinical outcomes.