OBJECTIVE: The current study sought to develop a new indicator for disease progression rate in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
METHODS: We used a nonparametric method to score diverse patterns of decline in the percentage of predicted forced vital capacity (%FVC) in patients with ALS. This involved 6317 longitudinal %FVC data sets from 920 patients in the Pooled Resource Open-Access ALS Clinical Trials (PRO-ACT) database volunteered by PRO-ACT Consortium members. To assess the utility of the derived scores as a disease indicator, we examined changes over time, the association with prognosis, and correlation with the Risk Profile of the Treatment Research Initiative to Cure ALS (TRICALS). Our local cohort (n = 92) was used for external validation.
RESULTS: We derived scores ranging from 35 to 106 points to construct the FVC Decline Pattern scale (FVC-DiP). Individuals' FVC-DiP scores were determined from a single measurement of %FVC and disease duration at assessment. Although the %FVC declined over the disease course (p < 0.0001), the FVC-DiP remained relatively stable. Low FVC-DiP scores were associated with rapid disease progression. Using our cohort, we demonstrated an association between FVC-DiP and the survival prognosis, the stability of the FVC-DiP per individual, and a correlation between FVC-DiP scores and the TRICALS Risk Profile (r 2 = 0.904, p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: FVC-DiP scores reflected patterns of declining %FVC over the natural course of ALS and indicated the disease progression rate. The FVC-DiP may enable easy assessment of disease progression patterns and could be used for assessing treatment efficacy.