Comparing Alternative Ranibizumab Dosages for Safety and Efficacy in Retinopathy of Prematurity: A Randomized Clinical Trial | Neonatology | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
March 2018

Comparing Alternative Ranibizumab Dosages for Safety and Efficacy in Retinopathy of Prematurity: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Eye Center, Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • 2Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology, University of Muenster Medical Center, Muenster, Germany
  • 4Department of Ophthalmology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
  • 5Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 6Department of Ophthalmology, Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany
  • 7Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • 8University Eye Hospital, Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany
  • 9Department of Ophthalmology, University of Kiel, University Medical Center, Kiel, Germany
  • 10Augenzentrum Pallas Kliniken, Olten, Switzerland
  • 11Artemis Eye Clinic, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 12Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 13Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(3):278-286. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.4838
Key Points

Question  Can anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) be improved by using ranibizumab given at lower doses than the standard treatment, bevacizumab, thus alleviating systemic safety concerns while effectively treating disease?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial with 20 patients, both investigated ranibizumab doses were lower than the current standard bevacizumab dose for ROP. Both ranibizumab doses were effective in controlling acute ROP (17 of 18 per protocol treated eyes [94%] with 0.12 mg and 13 of 14 per protocol treated eyes [93%] with 0.20 mg); systemic VEGF levels remained unchanged.

Meaning  Low-dose ranibizumab is effective in treating acute ROP without suppressing plasma VEGF levels.

Abstract

Importance  Anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies are a novel treatment option in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Data on dosing, efficacy, and safety are insufficient.

Objective  To investigate lower doses of anti-VEGF therapy with ranibizumab, a substance with a significantly shorter systemic half-life than the standard treatment, bevacizumab.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This randomized, multicenter, double-blind, investigator-initiated trial at 9 academic medical centers in Germany compared ranibizumab doses of 0.12 mg vs 0.20 mg in infants with bilateral aggressive posterior ROP; ROP stage 1 with plus disease, 2 with plus disease, or 3 with or without plus disease in zone I; or ROP stage 3 with plus disease in posterior zone II. Patients were recruited between September 2014 and August 2016. Twenty infants were screened and 19 were randomized.

Interventions  All infants received 1 baseline ranibizumab injection per eye. Reinjections were allowed in case of ROP recurrence after at least 28 days.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary end point was the number of infants who did not require rescue therapy at 24 weeks. Key secondary end points included time-to-event analyses, progression of physiologic vascularization, and plasma VEGF levels. Stages of ROP were photodocumented and reviewed by an expert committee.

Results  Nineteen infants with ROP were enrolled (9 [47.4%] female; median [range] postmenstrual age at first treatment, 36.4 [34.7-39.7] weeks), 3 of whom died during the study (1 in the 0.12-mg group and 2 in the 0.20-mg group). Of the surviving infants, 8 (88.9%) (17 eyes [94.4%]) in the 0.12-mg group and 6 (85.7%) (13 eyes [92.9%]) in the 0.20-mg group did not require rescue therapy. Both ranibizumab doses were equally successful in controlling acute ROP (Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel analysis; odds ratio, 1.88; 95% CI, 0.26-13.49; P = .53). Physiologic intraretinal vascularization was superior in the 0.12-mg group. The VEGF plasma levels were not systematically altered in either group.

Conclusions and Relevance  This pilot study demonstrates that ranibizumab is effective in controlling acute ROP and that 24% of the standard adult dose (0.12 mg) appears equally effective as 40% (0.20 mg). Superior vascularization of the peripheral retina with 0.12 mg of ranibizumab indicates that the lower dose may be favorable. Unchanged plasma VEGF levels point toward a limited systemic drug exposure after ranibizumab.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02134457 and clinicaltrialsregister.eu Identifier: 2013-002539-13.

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