• pharmacogenetics;
  • interferon-beta;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • treatment response


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes encoding interferon response factor (IRF)-5, IRF-8 and glypican-5 (GPC5) have been associated with disease activity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients treated with interferon (IFN)-β. We analysed whether SNPs in the IRF5, IRF8 and GPC5 genes are associated with clinical disease activity in MS patients beginning de novo treatment with IFN-β.


The SNPs rs2004640, rs3807306 and rs4728142 in IRF5, rs13333054 and rs17445836 in IRF8 and rs10492503 in GPC5 were genotyped in 575 patients with relapsing-remitting MS followed prospectively after the initiation of their first treatment with IFN-β.


62% of patients experienced relapses during the first 2 years of treatment, and 32% had disability progression during the first 5 years of treatment. Patients with a pretreatment annualized relapse rate >1 had an increased risk of relapse (hazard ratio 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.24–1.90) and progression (hazard ratio 1.48, 95% confidence interval 1.10–1.99) on treatment and patients with breakthrough relapses in the form of relapses during the first 2 years of treatment had an increased risk of progression during the first 5 years of treatment (hazard ratio 2.04, 95% confidence interval 1.47–2.85).The gene variants in IRF5, IRF8 and GPC5 were not associated with risk of relapse or disease progression.


Pretreatment relapse rate and clinical disease activity during the first 2 years of treatment may be associated with disease progression in MS patients treated with IFN-β. Genetic analysis of the studied gene variants do not provide additional information.