Evaluation of in vitro effects of bevacizumab (Avastin) on retinal pigment epithelial, neurosensory retinal, and microvascular endothelial cells

Retina. May-Jun 2006;26(5):512-8. doi: 10.1097/01.iae.0000222547.35820.52.


Purpose: To evaluate the short-term in vitro safety of bevacizumab (Avastin) in human retinal pigment epithelial (ARPE-19), rat neurosensory retinal (R28), and human microvascular endothelial (HMVECad) cells.

Methods: ARPE-19 and R28 cells were treated with 0.125 mg/mL, 0.25 mg/mL, 0.50 mg/mL, and 1 mg/mL of bevacizumab for 2, 6, and 24 hours. HMVECad cells were treated with 5 ng/mL of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and 0.125 mg/mL, 0.25 mg/mL, 0.50 mg/mL, and 1 mg/mL of either bevacizumab for 2, 6, and 24 hours or a nonspecific human purified immunoglobulin (IgG) for 24 hours. Cell viability was measured using trypan blue dye exclusion assay.

Results: The cell viabilities of ARPE-19 cells, R28 cells, and HMVECad cells treated with bevacizumab were not significantly different (P > 0.05) from that of untreated controls. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between viabilities of HMVECad cells treated with bevacizumab and IgG.

Conclusion: This study suggests that bevacizumab, at concentrations at or above the dose normally used in clinical practice, is not toxic to human retinal pigment epithelial, rat neurosensory retinal, or human microvascular endothelial cells in vitro. This report is consistent with the recent report of lack of toxicity of intravitreal bevacizumab in rabbits as well as the lack of apparent toxicity in clinical use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / toxicity*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / toxicity*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Survival
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / drug effects*
  • Retina / drug effects*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / pharmacology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab