Outcome of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy Treated by Interleukin-7

PML study group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Restoring anti-JC virus (JCV) immunity is the only treatment of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Interleukin-7 is a cytokine that increases number and function of T cells. We analyzed a population of PML patients who received recombinant human IL-7 (rhIL-7) to estimate survival and its determinants. Methods: After exclusion of patients with missing data or receiving other immunotherapies, findings from 64 patients with proven PML who received rhIL-7 between 2007 and 2020 were retrospectively analyzed. Logistic regression was used to analyze variables associated with one-year survival. Results: Underlying conditions were HIV/AIDS (n = 27, 42%), hematological malignancies (n = 16, 25%), primary immunodeficiencies (n = 13, 20%), solid organ transplantation (n = 4, 6%) and chronic inflammatory diseases (n = 4, 6%). One-year survival was 54.7% and did not differ by underlying condition. Survival was not associated with baseline characteristics, but with a >50% increase in blood lymphocytes (OR 4.1, 95%CI 1.2–14.9) and CD4+ T cells (OR 5.9, 95%CI 1.7–23.3), and a > 1 log copies/mL decrease in cerebrospinal fluid JCV DNA (OR 7.6, 95%CI 1.6–56.1) during the first month after rhIL-7 initiation. Side effects were mainly local and flu-like symptoms (n = 8, 12.5%) and PML-immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) (n = 5, 8%). Interpretation: In this non-controlled retrospective study, survival did not differ from that expected in HIV/AIDS patients, but might have been improved in those with hematological malignancies, primary immunodeficiencies and transplant recipients. RhIL-7 might have contributed to the increase in blood lymphocytes and decrease in CSF JCV replication that were associated with better survival. ANN NEUROL 2022;91:496–505.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-505
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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