menu ☰
menu ˟

Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for retinal conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis

29 May 2019

Objectives

To evaluate the comparative effectiveness and safety of intravitreal bevacizumab, ranibizumab and aflibercept for patients with choroidal neovascular age-related macular degeneration (cn-AMD), diabetic macular oedema (DMO), macular oedema due to retinal vein occlusion (RVO-MO) and myopic choroidal neovascularisation (m-CNV).

Design

Systematic review and random-effects meta-analysis.

Methods

Multiple databases were searched from inception to 17 August 2017. Eligible head-to-head randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the (anti-VEGF) drugs in adult patients aged ≥18 years with the retinal conditions of interest. Two reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data and assessed risk of bias.

Results

19 RCTs involving 7459 patients with cn-AMD (n=12), DMO (n=3), RVO-MO (n=2) and m-CNV (n=2) were included. Vision gain was not significantly different in patients with cn-AMD, DMO, RVO-MO and m-CNV treated with bevacizumab versus ranibizumab. Similarly, vision gain was not significantly different between cn-AMD patients treated with aflibercept versus ranibizumab. Patients with DMO treated with aflibercept experienced significantly higher vision gain at 12 months than patients receiving ranibizumab or bevacizumab; however, this difference was not significant at 24 months. Rates of systemic serious harms were similar across anti-VEGF agents. Posthoc analyses revealed that an as-needed treatment regimen (6–9 injections per year) was associated with a mortality increase of 1.8% (risk ratio: 2.0 [1.2 to 3.5], 2 RCTs, 1795 patients) compared with monthly treatment in cn-AMD patients.

Conclusions

Intravitreal bevacizumab was a reasonable alternative to ranibizumab and aflibercept in patients with cn-AMD, DMO, RVO-MO and m-CNV. The only exception was for patients with DME and low visual acuity (<69 early treatment diabetic retinopathy study [ETDRS] letters), where treatment with aflibercept was associated with significantly higher vision gain (≥15 ETDRS letters) than bevacizumab or ranibizumab at 12 months; but the significant effects were not maintained at 24 months. The choice of anti-VEGF drugs may depend on the specific retinal condition, baseline visual acuity and treatment regimen.

PROSPERO registration number

CRD42015022041.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open