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Aflibercept: a review of its use in the treatment of choroidal neovascularization due to age-related macular degeneration

Authors Balaratnasingam C, Dhrami-Gavazi E, McCann J, Ghadiali Q, Freund KB

Received 15 September 2015

Accepted for publication 14 November 2015

Published 17 December 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 2355—2371

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S80040

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Wei Kun Hu

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Chandrakumar Balaratnasingam,1–3 Elona Dhrami-Gavazi,1,2,4 Jesse T McCann,1,2,4,5 Quraish Ghadiali,1,2 K Bailey Freund1,2,4,5

1Vitreous-Retina-Macula Consultants of New York, NY, USA; 2LuEsther T Mertz Retinal Research Center, Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, New York, NY, USA; 3Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Lions Eye Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia; 4Department of Ophthalmology, Edward S Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA; 5Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an important cause of visual morbidity globally. Modern treatment strategies for neovascular AMD achieve regression of CNV by suppressing the activity of key growth factors that mediate angiogenesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been the major target of neovascular AMD therapy for almost two decades, and there have been several intravitreally-administered agents that have enabled anatomical restitution and improvement in visual function with continual dosing. Aflibercept (EYLEA®), initially named VEGF Trap-eye, is the most recent anti-VEGF agent to be granted US Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of neovascular AMD. Biologic advantages of aflibercept include its greater binding affinity for VEGF, a longer intravitreal half-life relative to other anti-VEGF agents, and the capacity to antagonize growth factors other than VEGF. This paper provides an up-to-date summary of the molecular mechanisms mediating CNV. The structural, pharmacodynamic, and pharmacokinetic advantages of aflibercept are also reviewed to rationalize the utility of this agent for treating CNV. Results of landmark clinical investigations, including VIEW 1 and 2 trials, and other important studies are then summarized and used to illustrate the efficacy of aflibercept for managing treatment-naïve CNV, recalcitrant CNV, and CNV due to polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy. Safety profile, patient tolerability, and quality of life measures related to aflibercept are also provided. The evidence provided in this paper suggests aflibercept to be a promising agent that can be used to reduce the treatment burden of neovascular AMD.

Keywords: age-related macular degeneration, aflibercept, choroidal neovascularization, vascular endothelial growth factor, clinical trial

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