Incidence of retinal pigment epithelial tears after intravitreal ranibizumab injection for neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Emmett T Cunningham, Leonard Feiner, Carol Chung, Lisa Tuomi, Jason S Ehrlich
Ophthalmology 2011, 118 (12): 2447-52

OBJECTIVE: To explore the association between treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and incidence and timing of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) tears in ranibizumab-treated patients versus control treatment.

DESIGN: Results from 3 phase III clinical trials (ANti-VEGF antibody for the treatment of predominantly classic CHORoidal neovascularization in age-related macular degeneration [ANCHOR], Minimally classic/occult trial of the Anti-VEGF antibody Ranibizumab In the treatment of Neovascular Age-related macular degeneration [MARINA], and A Phase IIIb, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Masked, Sham Injection-Controlled Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Ranibizumab in Subjects with Subfoveal Choroidal Neovascularization [CNV] with or without Classic CNV Secondary to Age-Related Macular Degeneration [PIER]) were retrospectively reviewed to identify patients who developed RPE tears during the study period, detected on fluorescein angiography performed at prespecified intervals.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients with baseline and post-baseline angiographic assessments.

METHODS: Patients received intravitreal ranibizumab (0.3 or 0.5 mg) or control treatment (verteporfin photodynamic therapy [PDT] in ANCHOR and sham intravitreal injections in ANCHOR, MARINA, and PIER).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence and timing of RPE tears during the treatment period.

RESULTS: Data from 1298 patients were analyzed. No statistically significant differences in RPE tear incidence were observed. The pooled rate of RPE tears was 1.8% with 0.5 mg ranibizumab, 3.0% with 0.3 mg ranibizumab, and 1.6% in the control group. Most (76%; 16/21) RPE tears in ranibizumab-treated patients were identified within 3 months of initiating treatment, whereas the majority (80%; 4/5) of late-onset RPE tears occurred in control patients. In patients who developed RPE tears, better visual acuity (VA) outcomes were observed in those treated with ranibizumab versus control treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: As studied in these trials, no statistically significant differences in the incidence of RPE tears within a 2-year treatment period were observed in patients who received ranibizumab (0.5 or 0.3 mg) versus control treatment, although most RPE tears with ranibizumab occurred within 3 months of initiating treatment. Mean VA was better in patients who developed RPE tears while receiving ranibizumab than in those who received control treatment, suggesting a potential benefit of continued ranibizumab therapy in patients with neovascular AMD who developed RPE tears.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.

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