Systemic Safety in Ranibizumab-Treated Patients With Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Patient-Level Pooled Analysis

Ophthalmol Retina. 2018 Nov;2(11):1087-1096. doi: 10.1016/j.oret.2018.04.018. Epub 2018 Jun 11.


Topic: This study evaluated the cardiovascular/cerebrovascular safety profile of ranibizumab 0.5 mg versus sham ± verteporfin in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD). In addition, comparisons of ranibizumab 0.3 mg with sham and ranibizumab 0.5 mg to 0.3 mg were performed.

Clinical relevance: Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents carry potential increased systemic risks, including cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events. Pooled safety analyses allow better interpretation of safety outcomes seen in individual clinical trials, especially for less common events. To our knowledge, this is the largest patient-level pooled analysis of patients with nAMD treated with ranibizumab.

Methods: Patient-level pooled analysis of data from 7 Genentech- and Novartis-sponsored phase II, III, and IV studies in nAMD that were completed by December 31, 2013. Pairwise comparisons (primary comparison: ranibizumab 0.5 mg [globally approved dose for nAMD] vs. sham or verteporfin) were performed using Cox proportional hazard regression (hazard ratios [HRs], 95% confidence intervals [CIs]) and rates per 100 patient-years. Standardized Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities queries (SMQs) and extended searches were used to identify relevant safety endpoints, including arterial thromboembolic events (ATEs), myocardial infarction (MI), stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), stroke (excluding TIA), vascular deaths, and major vascular events as defined by the Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration (APTC).

Results: The HRs (95% CIs) for the primary comparison of ranibizumab 0.5 mg (n=480) versus sham or verteporfin (n=462) were 1.16 (0.72-1.88) for ATE, 1.33 (0.59-2.97) for MI, 1.43 (0.54-3.77) for stroke excluding TIA, 1.25 (0.61-2.55) for stroke or TIA, 0.57 (0.18-1.78) for vascular death, and 1.12 (0.64-1.98) for APTC events. Hazard ratio 95% CIs included 1, indicating no significant treatment differences, for all endpoints for comparison of ranibizumab 0.5 mg versus sham or verteporfin.

Conclusions: The rates of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events were low in these patients with nAMD and not clinically meaningfully different for patients treated with ranibizumab 0.5 mg versus sham or verteporfin, which supports the favorable benefit-risk profile of ranibizumab in the patient population with nAMD. Pooling these studies allows an analysis with higher power and precision compared with individual study analyses.