Journal Club 23-5-2021

Journal Club 23-5-2021

Patients with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration Requiring Intensive Intravitreal Aflibercept Treatment: An ARIES Post Hoc Analysis

Sebastian Wolf Frank G Holz Edoardo Midena Eric H Souied George Lambrou Tobias Machewitz Helmut Allmeier Paul Mitchell ARIES Study Investigators


Introduction: The aim of this post hoc analysis of the ARIES study is to explore the requirement for intravitreal aflibercept (IVT-AFL) treatment intervals of < 8 weeks (w) in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), and to assess vision and anatomic outcomes in such patients who require more intensive treatment.

Methods: ARIES was a multicenter, randomized, phase 3b/4 study that investigated the efficacy of two IVT-AFL proactive, individualized, treat-and-extend regimens over 2 years in treatment-naïve patients with nAMD. Patients were determined as injection-intensive if the study investigator identified that a treatment interval of < 8 w was needed and if they had ≥ 1 interval of < 8 w after three initial monthly doses. Treatment intervals could be extended subsequently if extension criteria were met. This is a post hoc analysis of patients enrolled in ARIES and statistical analysis is descriptive.

Results: Of 269 patients in the combined treatment arms, 23.0% (n = 62) were injection-intensive (Year 1: 13.8% [n = 37]; Year 2: 9.3% [n = 25]). Time from IVT-AFL initiation to injection-intensive determination varied (range, 16-100 w; median: 43.2 w). Mean treatment interval was 8.4 w before and 6.1 w after injection-intensive determination. Overall, 59.7% achieved treatment intervals of ≥ 8 w following injection-intensive determination. Vision improvements from baseline to Week 104 were smaller for injection-intensive patients than non-injection-intensive patients (mean [SD] best-corrected visual acuity change: + 2.3 [15.6] vs. + 5.9 [12.3] letters). Anatomic outcomes were similar between injection-intensive and non-injection-intensive patients (central retinal thickness change from baseline to Week 104: – 160 [154] vs. – 167 [136] µm).

Conclusions: In ARIES, 23% of treatment-naïve patients with nAMD experienced at least one treatment interval of < 8 w. Injection-intensive patients showed improved vision and anatomic outcomes. For most, treatment intervals could be extended to ≥ 8 w following injection-intensive determination.

N Engl J Med

  • 2022 Jul 14. Online ahead of print.

Aflibercept Monotherapy or Bevacizumab First for Diabetic Macular Edema

Chirag D Jhaveri Adam R Glassman Frederick L Ferris 3rd Danni Liu Maureen G Maguire John B Allen Carl W Baker David Browning Matthew A Cunningham Scott M Friedman Lee M Jampol Dennis M Marcus Daniel F Martin Carin M Preston Cynthia R Stockdale Jennifer K Sun DRCR Retina Network


Background: In eyes with diabetic macular edema, the relative efficacy of administering aflibercept monotherapy as compared with bevacizumab first with a switch to aflibercept if the eye condition does not improve sufficiently (a form of step therapy) is unclear.

Methods: At 54 clinical sites, we randomly assigned eyes in adults who had diabetic macular edema involving the macular center and a visual-acuity letter score of 24 to 69 (on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better visual acuity; Snellen equivalent, 20/320 to 20/50) to receive either 2.0 mg of intravitreous aflibercept or 1.25 mg of intravitreous bevacizumab. The drug was administered at randomization and thereafter according to the prespecified retreatment protocol. Beginning at 12 weeks, eyes in the bevacizumab-first group were switched to aflibercept therapy if protocol-specified criteria were met. The primary outcome was the mean change in visual acuity over the 2-year trial period. Retinal central subfield thickness and visual acuity at 2 years and safety were also assessed.

Results: A total of 312 eyes (in 270 adults) underwent randomization; 158 eyes were assigned to receive aflibercept monotherapy and 154 to receive bevacizumab first. Over the 2-year period, 70% of the eyes in the bevacizumab-first group were switched to aflibercept therapy. The mean improvement in visual acuity was 15.0 letters in the aflibercept-monotherapy group and 14.0 letters in the bevacizumab-first group (adjusted difference, 0.8 letters; 95% confidence interval, -0.9 to 2.5; P = 0.37). At 2 years, the mean changes in visual acuity and retinal central subfield thickness were similar in the two groups. Serious adverse events (in 52% of the patients in the aflibercept-monotherapy group and in 36% of those in the bevacizumab-first group) and hospitalizations for adverse events (in 48% and 32%, respectively) were more common in the aflibercept-monotherapy group.

Conclusions: In this trial of treatment of moderate vision loss due to diabetic macular edema involving the center of the macula, we found no evidence of a significant difference in visual outcomes over a 2-year period between aflibercept monotherapy and treatment with bevacizumab first with a switch to aflibercept in the case of suboptimal response. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; Protocol AC number, NCT03321513.).

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