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Anti-VEGF treatment of diabetic macular edema in clinical practice: effectiveness and patterns of use (ECHO Study Report 1)

Authors Blinder KJ, Dugel PU, Chen S, Jumper JM, Walt JG, Hollander DA, Scott LC

Received 23 November 2016

Accepted for publication 15 December 2016

Published 21 February 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 393—401


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Kevin J Blinder,1 Pravin U Dugel,2,3 Sanford Chen,4 J Michael Jumper,5 John G Walt,6 David A Hollander,6 Lanita C Scott6

On behalf of the ECHO Study Group

1The Retina Institute, St Louis, MO, 2Retinal Consultants of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, 3USC Roski Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 4Orange County Retina, Santa Ana, 5West Coast Retina Medical Group, San Francisco, 6Allergan plc, Irvine, CA, USA

Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy, safety, and injection frequency of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors as used in clinical practice for the treatment of diabetic macular edema.
Methods: Multicenter (10 sites), retrospective chart review in patients (n=156) who received ≥3 anti-VEGF injections. Data collected for ≥6 months after the first injection included Snellen best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and central retinal thickness (CRT) by time-domain or spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (TD-OCT or SD-OCT).
Results: Mean number of anti-VEGF injections (627 bevacizumab, 594 ranibizumab, 1 aflibercept) was 5.8 (year 1), 5.0 (year 2), and 3.4 (year 3). Percentage of patients with BCVA of 20/40 or better and CRT ≤250 µm on TD-OCT or ≤300 µm on SD-OCT at the same visit (primary endpoint) ranged from 16.4% to 38.9% after the first 10 injections; 51.9%–62.3% achieved ≥20/40 BCVA and 26.2%–48.0% met CRT criteria. Therapy was well tolerated with 19 treatment-related adverse events (all ocular) reported.
Conclusion: Anti-VEGF injections were administered less frequently and were less effective than those in the ranibizumab registration trials. After each of the first 9 injections, <25% of patients achieved both BCVA of 20/40 or better and a dry macula. A substantial proportion of patients are suboptimal responders to anti-VEGF therapy; these patients may be candidates for other therapies, including intravitreal corticosteroid and laser therapy.

bevacizumab, diabetic retinopathy, drug administration schedule, ranibizumab, vascular endothelial growth factor, visual acuity

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