Serum neurofilament light in MS: The first true blood-based biomarker?
Multiple Sclerosis Journal | February 10, 2021
Thebault S, Bose G, Booth R and Freedman MS.
Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). 2021:1352458521993066
A simple blood-derived biomarker is desirable in the routine management of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL) is the most promising candidate. Although its utility was first shown in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), technological advancements have enabled reliable detection in serum and less frequently plasma, obviating the need for repeated lumbar punctures. In this review, after defining the knowledge gap in MS management that many hope sNfL could fill, we summarize salient studies demonstrating associations of sNfL levels with outcomes of interest. We group these outcomes into inflammatory activity, progression, treatment response, and prediction/prognosis. Where possible we focus on data from real-world perspective observational cohorts. While acknowledging the limitations of sNfL and highlighting key areas for ongoing work, we conclude with our opinion of the role for sNfL as an objective, convenient, and cost-effective adjunct to clinical assessment. Paving the way for other promising biomarkers both blood-derived and otherwise, sNfL is an incremental step toward precision medicine for MS patients.