Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2024 Mar 9;49:141-154. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2024.03.003. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) is a rare autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disorder resulting from arylsulfatase A enzyme deficiency, leading to toxic sulfatide accumulation. As a result affected individuals exhibit progressive neurodegeneration. Treatments such as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and gene therapy are effective when administered pre-symptomatically. Newborn screening (NBS) for MLD has recently been shown to be technically feasible and is indicated because of available treatment options. However, there is a lack of guidance on how to monitor and manage identified cases. This study aims to establish consensus among international experts in MLD and patient advocates on clinical management for NBS-identified MLD cases.

METHODS: A real-time Delphi procedure using eDELPHI software with 22 experts in MLD was performed. Questions, based on a literature review and workshops, were answered during a seven-week period. Three levels of consensus were defined: A) 100%, B) 75-99%, and C) 50-74% or >75% but >25% neutral votes. Recommendations were categorized by agreement level, from strongly recommended to suggested. Patient advocates participated in discussions and were involved in the final consensus.

RESULTS: The study presents 57 statements guiding clinical management of NBS-identified MLD patients. Key recommendations include timely communication by MLD experts with identified families, treating early-onset MLD with gene therapy and late-onset MLD with HSCT, as well as pre-treatment monitoring schemes. Specific knowledge gaps were identified, urging prioritized research for future evidence-based guidelines.

DISCUSSION: Consensus-based recommendations for NBS in MLD will enhance harmonized management and facilitate integration in national screening programs. Structured data collection and monitoring of screening programs are crucial for evidence generation and future guideline development. Involving patient representatives in the development of recommendations seems essential for NBS programs.

PMID:38554683 | DOI:10.1016/j.ejpn.2024.03.003