Multimodal diagnostics in multiple sclerosis: predicting disability and conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive disease course – protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis
Al Zahmi, Fatmah
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Background: The number of patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) has increased significantly over the last decade. The challenge is to identify the transition from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive MS. Since available methods to examine patients with MS are limited, both the diagnostics and prognostication of disease progression would benefit from the multimodal approach. The latter combines the evidence obtained from disparate radiologic modalities, neurophysiological evaluation, cognitive assessment and molecular diagnostics. In this systematic review we will analyse the advantages of multimodal studies in predicting the risk of conversion to secondary progressive MS. Methods and analysis: We will use peer-reviewed publications available in Web of Science, Medline/ PubMed, Scopus, Embase and CINAHL databases. In vivo studies reporting the predictive value of diagnostic methods will be considered. Selected publications will be processed through Covidence software for automatic deduplication and blind screening. Two reviewers will use a predefined template to extract the data from eligible studies. We will analyse the performance metrics (1) for the classification models reflecting the risk of secondary progression: sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, positive and negative predictive values; (2) for the regression models forecasting disability scores: the ratio of mean absolute error to the range of values. Then, we will create ranking charts representing performance of the algorithms for calculating disability level and MS progression. Finally, we will compare the predictive power of radiological and radiomical correlates of clinical disability and cognitive impairment in patients with MS. Ethics and dissemination: The study does not require ethical approval because we will analyse publicly available literature. The project results will be published in a peerreview journal and presented at scientific conferences.