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Switching to aflibercept among patients with treatment-resistant neovascular age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Authors Spooner K, Hong T, Wijeyakumar W, Chang AA

Received 25 October 2016

Accepted for publication 22 November 2016

Published 6 January 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 161—177


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Kimberly Spooner,1–3 Thomas Hong,1,2 Wijeyanthy Wijeyakumar,1–3 Andrew A Chang1–3

1Sydney Retina Clinic & Day Surgery, 2Sydney Institute of Vision Science, Sydney, 3Save Sight Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

Purpose: To systematically review anatomical and functional outcomes subsequent to switching from bevacizumab/ranibizumab to aflibercept monotherapy in patients with treatment-resistant neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD).
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: Medline, PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases were searched up to July 2016 for available scientific literature which met inclusion criteria. Eligible studies reported visual and anatomical outcomes with at least 6 months of follow-up among patients with nAMD and persistent or resistant exudative fluid despite previous anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy (bevacizumab and/or ranibizumab) and were switched to aflibercept monotherapy. Mean changes in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and central retinal thickness (CRT) were pooled using random-effects models with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Of 82 papers reviewed, 28 studies met inclusion criteria of this review. Pooled results showed a small mean improvement in BCVA at 6 and 12 months following switching (1.11 letters, 95% CI -0.25 to 2.46, P=0.17 and 0.63 letters, 95% CI -0.26 to 1.52, P=0.17, respectively). There was a significant improvement in mean CRT following switching (-61.90 µm, 95% CI -77.10 to -46.80, P<0.001 and -50.00 µm, 95% CI -63.20 to -36.80, P<0.001 at 6 and 12 months, respectively).
Conclusion: Pooled analysis demonstrated significantly improved anatomical outcomes; however, visual function remained stable, having a comparable effect to other anti-VEGF agents in preservation of vision. These patients had poorly responsive chronic disease with limited potential for visual recovery. Switching to aflibercept with frequent monitoring may be a suitable option for patients who have developed treatment resistance.

Keywords: anti-vascular endothelial growth factor, macular degeneration, treatment resistance, meta-analysis, aflibercept

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