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Stahl, Andreas; Krohne, Tim U.; Eter, Nicole; Oberacher-Velten, Isabel; Guthoff, Rainer; Meltendorf, Synke; Ehrt, Oliver; Aisenbrey, Sabine; Roider, Johann; Gelding, Heinrich; Jandeck, Claudia; Smith, Lois E. H.; Walz, Johanna M. (2018): Comparing Alternative Ranibizumab Dosages for Safety and Efficacy in Retinopathy of Prematurity A Randomized Clinical Trial. In: Jama Pediatrics, Vol. 172, No. 3: pp. 278-286
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IMPORTANCE: Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies are a novel treatment option in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Data on dosing, efficacy, and safety are insufficient. OBJECTIVE: To investigate lower doses of anti-VEGF therapy with ranibizumab, a substance with a significantly shorter systemic half-life than the standard treatment, bevacizumab. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This randomized, multicenter, double-blind, investigator-initiated trial at 9 academic medical centers in Germany compared ranibizumab doses of 0.12 mg vs 0.20 mg in infants with bilateral aggressive posterior ROP;ROP stage 1 with plus disease, 2 with plus disease, or 3 with or without plus disease in zone I;or ROP stage 3 with plus disease in posterior zone II. Patients were recruited between September 2014 and August 2016. Twenty infants were screened and 19 were randomized. INTERVENTIONS: All infants received 1 baseline ranibizumab injection per eye. Reinjections were allowed in case of ROP recurrence after at least 28 days. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary end point was the number of infants who did not require rescue therapy at 24 weeks. Key secondary end points included time-to-event analyses, progression of physiologic vascularization, and plasma VEGF levels. Stages of ROP were photodocumented and reviewed by an expert committee. RESULTS: Nineteen infants with ROP were enrolled (9 [47.4%] female;median [range] postmenstrual age at first treatment, 36.4 [34.7-39.7] weeks), 3 of whom died during the study (1 in the 0.12-mg group and 2 in the 0.20-mg group). Of the surviving infants, 8 (88.9%) (17 eyes [94.4%]) in the 0.12-mg group and 6 (85.7%) (13 eyes [92.9%]) in the 0.20-mg group did not require rescue therapy. Both ranibizumab doses were equally successful in controlling acute ROP (Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel analysis;odds ratio, 1.88;95% CI, 0.26-13.49;P = .53). Physiologic intraretinal vascularization was superior in the 0.12-mg group. The VEGF plasma levels were not systematically altered in either group. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This pilot study demonstrates that ranibizumab is effective in controlling acute ROP and that 24% of the standard adult dose (0.12 mg) appears equally effective as 40% (0.20 mg). Superior vascularization of the peripheral retina with 0.12 mg of ranibizumab indicates that the lower dose may be favorable. Unchanged plasma VEGF levels point toward a limited systemic drug exposure after ranibizumab.