Progression of atypical parkinsonian syndromes: PROSPECT-M-UK study implications for clinical trials.


The advent of clinical trials of disease-modifying agents for neurodegenerative disease highlights the need for evidence-based end point selection. Here we report the longitudinal PROSPECT-M-UK study of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal syndrome (CBS), multiple system atrophy (MSA) and related disorders, to compare candidate clinical trial end points. In this multicentre UK study, participants were assessed with serial questionnaires, motor examination, neuropsychiatric and MRI assessments at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Participants were classified by diagnosis at baseline and study end, into Richardson syndrome, PSP-subcortical (PSP-parkinsonism and progressive gait freezing subtypes), PSP-cortical (PSP-frontal, PSP-speech and language and PSP-CBS subtypes), MSA-parkinsonism, MSA-cerebellar, CBS with and without evidence of Alzheimer's disease pathology and indeterminate syndromes. We calculated annual rate of change, with linear mixed modelling and sample sizes for clinical trials of disease-modifying agents, according to group and assessment type. Two hundred forty-three people were recruited [117 PSP, 68 CBS, 42 MSA and 16 indeterminate; 138 (56.8%) male; age at recruitment 68.7 ± 8.61 years]. One hundred and fifty-nine completed the 6-month assessment (82 PSP, 27 CBS, 40 MSA and 10 indeterminate) and 153 completed the 12-month assessment (80 PSP, 29 CBS, 35 MSA and nine indeterminate). Questionnaire, motor examination, neuropsychiatric and neuroimaging measures declined in all groups, with differences in longitudinal change between groups. Neuroimaging metrics would enable lower sample sizes to achieve equivalent power for clinical trials than cognitive and functional measures, often achieving N < 100 required for 1-year two-arm trials (with 80% power to detect 50% slowing). However, optimal outcome measures were disease-specific. In conclusion, phenotypic variance within PSP, CBS and MSA is a major challenge to clinical trial design. Our findings provide an evidence base for selection of clinical trial end points, from potential functional, cognitive, clinical or neuroimaging measures of disease progression.