Henricson EK, Abresch RT, Cnaan A, et al. The cooperative international neuromuscular research group Duchenne natural history study: glucocorticoid treatment preserves clinically meaningful functional milestones and reduces rate of disease progression as measured by manual muscle testing and other commonly used clinical trial outcome measures. Muscle & nerve 2013;48:55-67
INTRODUCTION: Glucocorticoid (GC) therapy in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has altered disease progression, necessitating contemporary natural history studies.
METHODS: The Cooperative Neuromuscular Research Group (CINRG) DMD Natural History Study (DMD-NHS) enrolled 340 DMD males, ages 2-28 years. A comprehensive battery of measures was obtained.
RESULTS: A novel composite functional “milestone” scale scale showed clinically meaningful mobility and upper limb abilities were significantly preserved in GC-treated adolescents/young adults. Manual muscle test (MMT)-based calculations of global strength showed that those patients <10 years of age treated with steroids declined by 0.4 +/- 0.39 MMT unit/year, compared with -0.4 +/- 0.39 MMT unit/year in historical steroid-naive subjects. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) were relatively preserved in steroid-treated adolescents. The linearity and magnitude of decline in measures were affected by maturational changes and functional status.
CONCLUSIONS: In DMD, long-term use of GCs showed reduced strength loss and preserved functional capabilities and PFTs compared with previous natural history studies performed prior to the widespread use of GC therapy.