A phase I study of intravitreal vascular endothelial growth factor trap-eye in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Ophthalmology. 2009 Nov;116(11):2141-8.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.04.030. Epub 2009 Aug 22.


Purpose: To determine the safety, tolerability, maximum tolerated dose, and bioactivity of an intravitreal injection of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) Trap-Eye, a fusion protein of binding domains from human VEGF receptors 1 and 2 with human immunoglobulin-G Fc that binds VEGF family members, in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Design: Dose-escalation, multicenter, interventional clinical trial.

Participants: Twenty-one patients (13 female, 8 male) with neovascular AMD (NVAMD) and lesions <or=12 disc areas in size and >or=50% active choroidal neovascularization (CNV) with best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) <or=20/40 received a single intraocular injection of 0.05 mg (n = 3), 0.15 mg (n = 3), 0.5 mg (n = 3), 1 mg (n = 6), 2 mg (n = 3), or 4 mg (n = 3) of VEGF Trap-Eye.

Methods: Safety assessments included eye examinations, vital signs, and laboratory tests. Measures of bioactivity included changes from baseline in BCVA, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and fluorescein angiography. The primary end point was 6 weeks and patients were followed up for 12 weeks.

Main outcome measure: Safety assessments.

Results: There were no serious adverse events and no identifiable intraocular inflammation. The mean decrease in excess foveal thickness for all patients was 104.5 mum at 6 weeks, and the mean increase in visual acuity was 4.43 letters. In the 2 highest dose groups combined (2 and 4 mg), the mean increase in BCVA was 13.5 letters, with 3 of 6 patients demonstrating improvement of >or=3 lines and 3 patients requiring no adjunctive treatment of any type for 12 weeks. Some showed elimination of fluorescein leakage and reduction in area of CNV.

Conclusions: Intravitreal injection of up to 4 mg of VEGF Trap-Eye in patients with NVAMD was well tolerated with no evidence of ocular inflammation. Although the number of patients in each cohort was small, there was evidence of bioactivity, because several patients, especially those receiving 2 or 4 mg of VEGF Trap-Eye, showed substantial improvement in BCVA associated with reductions in foveal thickness. Phase III trials to investigate the efficacy of intraocular VEGF Trap-Eye in patients with NVAMD are under way.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / diagnosis
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / administration & dosage*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / adverse effects
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitreous Body


  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • VEGF-Trap fusion protein, recombinant
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor