JOURNAL ARTICLE

Potential endpoints for clinical trials in premanifest and early Huntington's disease in the TRACK-HD study: analysis of 24 month observational data

Sarah J Tabrizi, Ralf Reilmann, Raymund A C Roos, Alexandra Durr, Blair Leavitt, Gail Owen, Rebecca Jones, Hans Johnson, David Craufurd, Stephen L Hicks, Christopher Kennard, Bernhard Landwehrmeyer, Julie C Stout, Beth Borowsky, Rachael I Scahill, Chris Frost, Douglas R Langbehn
Lancet Neurology 2012, 11 (1): 42-53
22137354

BACKGROUND: TRACK-HD is a prospective observational biomarker study in premanifest and early Huntington's disease (HD). In this report we define a battery of potential outcome measures for therapeutic trials.

METHODS: We assessed longitudinal data collected at baseline, 12 months, and 24 months at sites in Leiden (Netherlands), London (UK), Paris (France), and Vancouver (Canada). Participants were individuals without HD but carrying the mutant HTT gene (ie, premanifest HD), patients with early HD, and healthy control individuals matched by age and sex to the combined HD groups. Data were collected with 3T MRI, clinical, cognitive, quantitative motor, oculomotor, and neuropsychiatric assessments. We estimated adjusted, between-group differences in rates of change in these measures and concomitant longitudinal effect sizes.

FINDINGS: Longitudinal data were available for 116 control individuals, 117 premanifest gene carriers, and 116 participants with early HD. Significantly greater progressive grey-matter, white-matter, whole-brain, and regional atrophy was recorded in the premanifest and early HD groups than in the control group. Effect sizes for atrophy rates between participants with early HD and controls were largest in the caudate (2·04, 95% CI 1·68 to 2·48) and white matter (1·70, 1·40 to 2·08). Functional, quantitative motor, and cognitive measures deteriorated to a greater extent in the early HD group than in controls, with the largest effect size in the symbol digit modality test (1·00, 0·67 to 1·27). In the early HD group, changes in structural imaging and various cognitive and quantitative motor scores were associated with worsening total motor score (TMS) and total functional capacity (TFC). In the premanifest group, despite significant declines in regional and overall brain volumes, few functional variables showed significant 24 month change compared with controls; TMS, emotion recognition, and speeded tapping were exceptions. Premanifest individuals with progression, predefined as an increase in TMS score of 5 points or more, any TFC decline, or a new diagnostic confidence score of 4, exhibited higher rates of brain atrophy and deterioration on some quantitative motor tasks compared with other premanifest participants.

INTERPRETATION: On the basis of longitudinal effect size, we recommend several objective outcome measures for clinical trials in participants with early HD. Hypothetical treatment effects defined by slower longitudinal changes in these measures would be detectable over a realistic timescale with practical sample sizes. The restricted 24 month cognitive or motor decline in the premanifest sample illustrates the greater challenge in trial design for this group.

FUNDING: CHDI/HighQ Foundation Inc.

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