Longitudinal natural history of type i spinal muscular atrophy: A critical review

Eugenio Maria Mercuri, Marika Pane, Simona Lucibello, Marco Perulli, Giorgia Coratti, Roberto De Sanctis, Maria Carmela Pera, Jacqueline Montes, Darryl C. De Vivo, Basil T. Darras, Stephen J. Kolb, Richard S. Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The advent of new therapies in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has highlighted the need to have natural history data for comparison. Natural history studies using structured assessments in type I however are very limited. We identified and reviewed all the existing longitudinal history data in infants with type I SMA first assessed before the age of 7 months with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP INTEND). Main text: Three longitudinal natural history studies, two performed in the United States and one in Italy, were identified. The different study design of these three studies made it possible for the cumulative dataset to include the full spectrum of severity; from infants with neonatal onset to those with a milder phenotype that were not always included in the individual natural history studies. The cumulative analysis confirmed that, even in a larger cohort, there was never an improvement on the CHOP INTEND over time. This was true for all the infants, irrespective of their age or baseline CHOP INTEND scores. Infants with neonatal onset had low CHOP INTEND scores and a fast decline. The relatively large number of patients allowed us to calculate the rate of progression in subgroups identified according to SMN2 copy number and baseline CHOP INTEND scores. Conclusion: A detailed understanding of the existing data is important, as it will be difficult to acquire new systematic longitudinal history data because of the availability of disease modifying therapies. The cumulative findings in this review help to better understand the variability of natural history data in untreated patients and will be of use for comparison to the real world patients treated with the recently approved therapies that have shown encouraging results in clinical trials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
Number of pages7
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Natural history


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