Avastin effective against ROP

July 28, 2008

Intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin) can be beneficial in the treatment of severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to a study published in the July 2008 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin) can be beneficial in the treatment of severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), according to a study published in the July 2008 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Shunji Kusaka, MD of Osaka University Medical School, Japan and colleagues injected 0.5 mg bevacizumab into 23 eyes (stages 3 to 4B) of 14 patients with ROP who, regardless of conventional laser ablation therapy, were at high risk of progression or retinal detachment. The intravitreal injections were given as an initial treatment (n=15) or subsequent to vitrectomy (n=8).

Of the eyes injected as an initial treatment, 93% (n=14) demonstrated reduced neovascular activity on fluorescein angiography. Twenty eyes underwent vitrectomy: of these, the retinal reattached after just one surgery in 90% of eyes (n=18) and after multiple surgeries in the remaining 10% (n=2). Three eyes developed or progressed to a tractional retinal detachment after injection, though no other adverse events were noted.

The researchers concluded that, as intravitreal bevacizumab appears to correlate to reduced neovascularization without adverse events, bevacizumab may, in the short term at least, be an effective treatment for ROP refractory to conventional laser ablation.