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Comparison of the efficacy of aflibercept, ranibizumab, and bevacizumab in an RPE/choroid organ culture

Abstract

Purpose

Anti-VEGF treatment is the therapy of choice in age-related macular degeneration and is also applied in diabetic macular edema or retinal vein occlusion. Recently, aflibercept has been approved for therapeutic use. In this study, we investigate the efficacy of aflibercept in comparison with the VEGF-antagonists ranibizumab and bevacizumab in RPE/choroid organ cultures.

Methods

RPE/choroid organ cultures were prepared from freshly slaughtered pigs’ eyes. Organ cultures were treated with 125 μg/ml aflibercept, ranibizumab, or bevacizumab, and the VEGF content of the supernatant was evaluated over the course of 7 days. Additionally, the minimal concentration of VEGF inhibition was evaluated in organ cultures, measured after 6 h of application.

Results

Aflibercept was able to completely inhibit VEGF detection for 6 h at a minimal concentration of 0.031 μg/ml, in contrast to bevacizumab (3.9 μg/ml) and ranibizumab (0.244 μg/ml). A statistically significant VEGF inhibition compared to control could be found for aflibercept and ranibizumab down to and including 0.031 μg/ml, while bevacizumab was significantly reduced compared to control down to a concentration of 0.244 μg/ml and again at 0.061 μg/ml. Inhibition of VEGF after a single aflibercept application of 125 μg/ml could be found over the course of 7 days, with some VEGF detectable at the 7th day. In contrast, VEGF was detectable after 72 h of ranibizumab treatment and some VEGF could already be found 12 h after bevacizumab treatment.

Conclusions

In conclusion, aflibercept displays a prolonged VEGF inhibition, confirming its effectiveness but also raising concerns about possible side effects of long-term usage.

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Acknowledgments

This research was financially supported by a Novartis research grant. AK has been a consultant for and received lecture fees and travel grants by Novartis Pharma. Parts of the data presented here have been presented at the DOG meeting 2013.

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Correspondence to Alexa Klettner.

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Klettner, A., Recber, M. & Roider, J. Comparison of the efficacy of aflibercept, ranibizumab, and bevacizumab in an RPE/choroid organ culture. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 252, 1593–1598 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00417-014-2719-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00417-014-2719-y

Keywords

  • Aflibercept
  • Ranibizumab
  • Bevacizumab
  • VEGF
  • Efficacy