The New England Journal of Medicine, 2006, Vol.355(14), pp.1432-1444
Background We compared ranibizumab — a recombinant, humanized, monoclonal antibody Fab that neutralizes all active forms of vascular endothelial growth factor A — with photodynamic therapy with verteporfin in the treatment of predominantly classic neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Methods During the first year of this 2-year, multicenter, double-blind study, we randomly assigned patients in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive monthly intravitreal injections of ranibizumab (0.3 mg or 0.5 mg) plus sham verteporfin therapy or monthly sham injections plus active verteporfin therapy. The primary end point was the proportion of patients losing fewer than 15 letters from baseline visual acuity at 12 months. Results Of the 423 patients enrolled, 94.3% of those given 0.3 mg of ranibizumab and 96.4% of those given 0.5 mg lost fewer than 15 letters, as compared with 64.3% of those in the verteporfin group (P〈0.001 for each comparison). Visual acuity improved by 15 letters or more in 35.7% of the 0.3-mg group and 40.3% of the 0.5-mg group, as compared with 5.6% of the verteporfin group (P〈0.001 for each comparison). Mean visual acuity increased by 8.5 letters in the 0.3-mg group and 11.3 letters in the 0.5-mg group, as compared with a decrease of 9.5 letters in the verteporfin group (P〈0.001 for each comparison). Among 140 patients treated with 0.5 mg of ranibizumab, presumed endophthalmitis occurred in 2 patients (1.4%) and serious uveitis in 1 (0.7%). Conclusions Ranibizumab was superior to verteporfin as intravitreal treatment of predominantly classic neovascular age-related macular degeneration, with low rates of serious ocular adverse events. Treatment improved visual acuity on average at 1 year. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00061594 .) Previous studies have implicated intravitreal vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) as a target for countering neovascularization and, therefore, age-related macular degeneration. This double-blind, controlled trial comparing ranibizumab, which neutralizes all isoforms of VEGF-A, with photodynamic therapy with verteporfin showed that ranibizumab was better able to retard the progression of predominantly classic neovascular age-related macular degeneration. This trial comparing ranibizumab with photodynamic therapy with verteporfin showed that ranibizumab was better able to retard the progression of predominantly classic neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of severe and irreversible vision loss in the developed world among people 50 years of age or older.1–4 The neovascular form of the disease is characterized by the growth of abnormal, choroidal blood vessels beneath the macula, which causes severe loss of vision.5 Two main patterns of choroidal neovascularization that are associated with age-related macular degeneration, as seen on fluorescein angiography, are classic (in which intensely bright fluorescence is seen in early phases of the angiogram and leaks in late phases) and occult (in which leakage is less intense and appears in . . .