In 1991, it was reported that interferon alfa was an effective treatment in some cases of choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration.1 We will review the scientific rationale for this treatment, and suggest that it may be too early to recommend interferon alfa for general use in these ocular diseases until its efficacy and safety are further demonstrated.
See also p 1366.
Interferon alfa has been used for the treatment of hairy-cell leukemia and other neoplastic diseases since 1984.2 Recent experimental studies in the laboratory and the clinic have revealed a new property of interferon, the ability to inhibit angiogenesis.3-8 Angiogenesis, the growth of new capillary blood vessels, is a fundamental process of reproduction, development, and repair.9 Under normal conditions such as ovulation, neovascularization is brief and tightly controlled. However, pathologic angiogenesis, as in ocular neovascularization, psoriasis, hemangiomas, and cancer, can be prolonged and serve
Guyer DR, Adamis AP, Gragoudas ES, Folkman J, Slakter JS, Yannuzzi LA. Systemic Antiangiogenic Therapy for Choroidal NeovascularizationWhat Is the Role of Interferon Alfa?. Arch Ophthalmol. 1992;110(10):1383-1384. doi:10.1001/archopht.1992.01080220045019