KESTREL and KITE: 52-Week Results From Two Phase III Pivotal Trials of Brolucizumab for Diabetic Macular Edema

Am J Ophthalmol. 2022 Jun;238:157-172. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2022.01.004. Epub 2022 Jan 14.


Purpose: To compare the efficacy and safety of brolucizumab with aflibercept in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME).

Design: Double-masked, 100-week, multicenter, active-controlled, randomized trials.

Methods: Subjects were randomized 1:1:1 to brolucizumab 3 mg/6 mg or aflibercept 2 mg in KESTREL (n = 566) or 1:1 to brolucizumab 6 mg or aflibercept 2 mg in KITE (n = 360). Brolucizumab groups received 5 loading doses every 6 weeks (q6w) followed by 12-week (q12w) dosing, with optional adjustment to every 8 weeks (q8w) if disease activity was identified at predefined assessment visits; aflibercept groups received 5 doses every 4 weeks (q4w) followed by fixed q8w dosing. The primary endpoint was best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) change from baseline at Week 52; secondary endpoints included the proportion of subjects maintained on q12w dosing, change in Diabetic Retinopathy Severity Scale score, and anatomical and safety outcomes.

Results: At Week 52, brolucizumab 6 mg was noninferior (NI margin 4 letters) to aflibercept in mean change in BCVA from baseline (KESTREL: +9.2 letters vs +10.5 letters; KITE: +10.6 letters vs +9.4 letters; P < .001), more subjects achieved central subfield thickness (CSFT) <280 µm, and fewer had persisting subretinal and/or intraretinal fluid vs aflibercept, with more than half of brolucizumab 6 mg subjects maintained on q12w dosing after loading. In KITE, brolucizumab 6 mg showed superior improvements in change of CSFT from baseline over Week 40 to Week 52 vs aflibercept (P = .001). The incidence of ocular serious adverse events was 3.7% (brolucizumab 3 mg), 1.1% (brolucizumab 6 mg), and 2.1% (aflibercept) in KESTREL; and 2.2% (brolucizumab 6 mg) and 1.7% (aflibercept) in KITE.

Conclusion: Brolucizumab 6 mg showed robust visual gains and anatomical improvements with an overall favorable benefit/risk profile in patients with DME.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized* / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Macular Edema* / diagnosis
  • Macular Edema* / drug therapy
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / therapeutic use
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • brolucizumab