Brolucizumab Versus Aflibercept in Participants with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Randomized Trial

Ophthalmology. 2017 Sep;124(9):1296-1304. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2017.03.057. Epub 2017 May 24.


Purpose: To compare the efficacy and safety of brolucizumab with aflibercept to treat neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Design: Prospective, randomized, double-masked, multicenter, 2-arm, phase 2 study.

Participants: Eighty-nine treatment-naïve participants, aged ≥50 years, with active choroidal neovascularization secondary to AMD.

Methods: Eligible participants were randomized 1:1 to intravitreal brolucizumab (6 mg/50 μl) or aflibercept (2 mg/50 μl). Both groups received 3 monthly loading doses and were then treated every 8 weeks (q8) with assessment up to week 40. In the brolucizumab group, the final q8 cycle was extended to enable 2 cycles of treatment every 12 weeks (q12; to week 56); participants on aflibercept continued on q8. Unscheduled treatments were allowed at the investigator's discretion.

Main outcome measures: The primary and secondary hypotheses were noninferiority (margin: 5 letters at a 1-sided alpha level 0.1) in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) change from baseline of brolucizumab versus aflibercept at weeks 12 and 16, respectively. BCVA, central subfield thickness (CSFT), and morphologic features were assessed throughout the study.

Results: The mean BCVA change from baseline (letters) with brolucizumab was noninferior to aflibercept at week 12 (5.75 and 6.89, respectively [80% confidence interval for treatment difference, -4.19 to 1.93]) and week 16 (6.04 and 6.62 [-3.72 to 2.56]), with no notable differences up to week 40. Outcomes exploring disease activity during the q8 treatment cycles suggest greater stability of the brolucizumab participants, supported by receipt of fewer unscheduled treatments versus aflibercept (6 vs. 15) and more stable CSFT reductions. In addition, from post hoc analysis, a greater proportion of brolucizumab-treated eyes had resolved intraretinal and subretinal fluid compared with aflibercept-treated eyes. Approximately 50% of brolucizumab-treated eyes had stable BCVA during the q12 cycles. Brolucizumab and aflibercept adverse events were comparable.

Conclusions: During the matched q8 phase, the BCVA in brolucizumab-treated eyes appeared comparable to aflibercept-treated eyes, with more stable CSFT reductions, receipt of fewer unscheduled treatments, and higher rates of fluid resolution. The brolucizumab safety profile was similar to aflibercept over 56 weeks of treatment. A 12-week treatment cycle for brolucizumab may be viable in a relevant proportion of eyes.

Trial registration: NCT01796964.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / diagnosis
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / drug therapy*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Retina / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / physiopathology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • aflibercept
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • brolucizumab

Associated data