Paediatric myasthenia gravis: Prognostic factors for drug free remission.
Vecchio D., Ramdas S., Munot P., Pitt M., Beeson D., Knight R., Rodríguez Cruz P., Vincent A., Jayawant S., DeVile C., Buckley C., Hilton-Jones D., Robb S., Palace J.
Our aim was to identify clinical outcomes, serological features and possible prognostic indicators of paediatric myasthenia gravis (MG). We collected 74 MG patients with disease onset before the age of 16 years (73% pre-pubertal onset defined as ≤10 years), seen regularly at two UK specialist centres, over a period of 11 years. The cohort was multi-ethnic, with a high number of non-Caucasians (52%). Ocular presentation was seen in 38 (51%) and only 8 (21%) of these generalised. Fifty-two (70%) patients had antibodies to the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) measured by radioimmunoprecipitation, 10 (14%) had antibodies only to clustered AChRs detected by a cell based assay, 3 (4%) had muscle-specific kinase and one (1%) low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 antibody. Only 8 (11%) had no detectable antibodies. Seventeen patients attained drug free remission (Kaplan Meyer survival curve estimates 25% by 7 years). Several factors were associated with a higher likelihood of free remission: onset age ≤10 years, Asian and Caucasian races, lack of AChR antibodies on RIA, and normal repetitive nerve stimulation at diagnosis. However, in a multifactorial regression analysis, the antibody status was the only significant predictor for drug free remission, with 60% of patients with antibodies only to clustered AChR achieving this outcome. Complete drug free remission is not uncommon in paediatric MG and several factors appear to influence this outcome with antibody status being the most important. These factors can be easily evaluated at diagnosis, and may help to determine whose patients are likely to require more intensive treatments.