Background and objective: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, both necessary and sufficient in promoting ocular neovascularization, is an attractive therapeutic target. Combining nonselective and selective VEGF blockade may provide clinical benefit with minimal risks in the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Patients and methods: Twenty patients with all subtypes of neovascular AMD and a broad range of baseline vision were treated with intravitreal bevacizumab followed by pegaptanib sodium for 54 weeks. Visual acuity measurements, biomicroscopy, funduscopy, fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, and adverse event assessments were performed.
Results: Mean visual acuity improved from approximately 20/200 at baseline to 20/80. All patients experienced an improvement in retinal thickness, ranging from -47 to -297 microns. Adverse events were limited to transient irritation or redness. No significant elevation in intraocular pressure occurred following either bevacizumab or pegaptanib injections.
Conclusions: Nonselective VEGF blockade with bevacizumab induction and selective VEGF165 blockade with pegaptanib as maintenance therapies may offer clinically meaningful outcomes with acceptable safety profiles in patients with AMD.