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Critical Dependence on Area in Relationship between ARMS2/HTRA1 Genotype and Faster Geographic Atrophy Enlargement: Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Report Number 33.

Ophthalmology 2023 September 18
PURPOSE: To analyze ARMS2/HTRA1 as a risk factor for faster geographic atrophy (GA) enlargement according to (1) GA area and (2) contiguous enlargement versus progression to multifocality.

DESIGN: Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) cohort analysis.

PARTICIPANTS: Eyes with GA: 546 eyes of 406 participants.

METHODS: Geographic atrophy area was measured from color fundus photographs at annual visits. Mixed-model regression of square root of GA area and proportional hazards regression of progression to multifocality were analyzed by ARMS2 genotype.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change in square root GA area and progression to multifocality.

RESULTS: Geographic atrophy enlargement was significantly faster with ARMS2 risk alleles (P < 0.0001) at 0.224 mm/year (95% CI, 0.195-0.252 mm/year), 0.298 mm/year (95% CI, 0.271-0.324 mm/year), and 0.317 mm/year (95% CI, 0.279-0.355 mm/year), for 0 to 2 risk alleles, respectively. However, a significant interaction (P = 0.011) was observed between genotype and baseline area. In eyes with very small area (< 1.9 mm2 ), enlargement was significantly faster with ARMS2 risk alleles (P < 0.0001) at 0.193 mm/year (95% CI, 0.162-0.225 mm/year) versus 0.304 mm/year (95% CI, 0.280-0.329 mm/year) for 0 versus 1 to 2 risk alleles, respectively. With moderately small (1.9-3.8 mm2 ) or medium to large (≥ 3.8 mm2 ) area, enlargement was not significantly faster with ARMS2 risk alleles (P = 0.66 and P = 0.70, respectively). In nonmultifocal GA, enlargement was significantly faster with ARMS2 risk alleles (P = 0.001) at 0.175 mm/year (95% CI, 0.142-0.209 mm/year), 0.226 mm/year (95% CI, 0.193-0.259 mm/year), and 0.287 mm/year (95% CI, 0.237-0.337 mm/year) with 0 to 2 risk alleles, respectively. ARMS2 genotype was not associated significantly with progression to multifocal GA.

CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between ARMS2/HTRA1 genotype and faster GA enlargement depends critically on GA area: risk alleles represent a strong risk factor for faster enlargement only in eyes with very small area. They increase the growth rate more through contiguous enlargement than progression to multifocality. ARMS2/HTRA1 genotype is more important in increasing risk of progression to GA and initial GA enlargement (contiguously) than in subsequent enlargement or progression to multifocality. These findings may explain some discrepancies between previous studies and have implications for both research and clinical practice.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE(S): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found in the Footnotes and Disclosures at the end of this article.

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