Therapeutic Efficacy of Bevacizumab for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Focke ZiemssenAffiliated withCentre for Ophthalmology, University Eye Hospital, Eberhard-Karls University of Tuebingen Email author
- , Bianka SobolewskaAffiliated withCentre for Ophthalmology, University Eye Hospital, Eberhard-Karls University of Tuebingen
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CATT (Comparison of Age-related macular degeneration [AMD] Treatment Trials) examined the efficacy of ranibizumab and bevacizumab for the treatment of neovascular AMD. This prospective, randomized, but unblinded trial revealed a significant improvement in vision with both treatments in terms of visual acuity; importantly, patients with juxtafoveal choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and retinal pigment epithelial detachments were not excluded from the study. Monthly treatment with the drugs resulted in similar increases in visual acuity, although angiograms indicated that ranibizumab was superior in terms of reducing retinal fluid and leakage.
As the study also differentiated between a fixed regimen and an as-needed (pro re nata [PRN]) dosing regimen, a larger sample size and Bonferroni statistical correction were necessary. The equivalence of the PRN dosing of bevacizumab to the monthly treatment could not be confirmed. Almost all of the frequent deviations from the protocol (referring to retreatment criteria: 25.7–28.5%) resulted in under-treatment. Since this applied to both drugs equally, under-treatment alone could not explain the larger loss of visual acuity observed in the bevacizumab PRN arm. The PRN regimen was generally associated with a larger lesion size after 12 months compared with the fixed treatment regimens.
The investigators accepted the drawbacks of an incomplete masking to allow co-payment by Medicare. As assessments of drug trials are often politically motivated, the higher demands of a non-inferiority trial compared with a superiority design must be emphasized. A comparison of the per-protocol and last-observation-carried-forward analysis has not yet been published; ongoing subgroup analysis might highlight the impact of different lesion characteristics. While CATT provided further evidence for the efficacy of bevacizumab treatment, differences in adverse events between the two treatments (e.g. a higher rate of serious adverse events with bevacizumab compared with ranibizumab) were reported; however, these still have to be analysed, with the larger sample sizes of previous ranibizumab studies needing to be taken into account. Preclinical studies imply some differences between the drugs in terms of their adverse event profiles. A possible increased risk of adverse events could not be ruled out by previous clinical case series and CATT because the sample sizes and the follow-up intervals were not adequate.
The large discrepancy in the price of bevacizumab versus ranibizumab in the US means a cost-benefit analysis is warranted. A lack of quality-of-life data has prevented calculation of an appropriate bevacizumab price in the context of its performance in the ophthalmological setting.
Thus, CATT suggests that a favourable visual acuity might be achieved by very frequent administration of bevacizumab in patients with neovascular AMD. Although there are certain safety caveats, increased focus on subgroup analyses and obtaining longer follow-up data are expected to yield additional information of clinical relevance.
- Therapeutic Efficacy of Bevacizumab for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Drugs & Aging
Volume 28, Issue 11 , pp 853-865
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