Plasma exchange with albumin replacement and disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pilot study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Plasma exchange (PE) is used to treat a range of neurological disorders. Based on results demonstrated in Alzheimer’s disease, we theorized that PE with albumin replacement (PE-A) might alter the metabolic profile of plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by removing disease-inducing molecules. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of PE-A on disease progression in ALS. Methods In this open-label, non-controlled, single-arm, prospective pilot study, 13 adults with ALS had 6 months’ treatment with PE-A 5% and 6 months’ follow-up. Primary endpoints were changes from baseline in the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R) score and forced vital capacity (FVC) through 48 weeks. A post hoc analysis compared individual patient data with the expected ALSFRS-R progression slope. Results The median ALSFRS-R score declined throughout the study, although the rate of decline was slower than expected in seven patients at treatment end and in five patients at study end. Six patients remained in the same baseline slope progression category, and four patients improved their slope category at treatment end. Median FVC decreased significantly during the study. Treatment was well tolerated. Of 330 PE-A procedures, 0.9% were associated with potentially related adverse events. Conclusion Although functional impairment progressed, about two-thirds of patients showed a slower than expected rate of decline at treatment end. Most patients had unaltered (54.5%) or reduced (36.4%) ALSFRS-R slope progression at treatment end. Further evaluation of PE-A in controlled studies involving more patients is warranted. EudraCT number 2013-004842-40. Trial registration identifier: NCT02479802.


  • Paez, Hector Antonio
  • Povedano, Mónica
  • Paipa, Andrés
  • Barceló, Miquel
  • Woodward, Michael K
  • Ortega, Sandra
  • Domínguez, Raúl
  • Aragonés, Maria Esperança
  • Horrillo, Raquel
  • Costa, Montserrat
  • Páez, Antonio

publication date

  • May 2022