Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy with pegaptanib for advanced von Hippel-Lindau disease of the retina.
OBJECTIVE: This pilot study was designed to provide preliminary data concerning the safety and efficacy of pegylated anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy, pegaptanib, for patients with juxtapapillary or large peripheral angiomas secondary to von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.
METHODS: This study was an open label, nonrandomized, prospective, pilot study of intravitreal injections of pegaptanib (3 mg/100 microL), given every 6 weeks for minimum of 6 injections. Five patients with severe ocular VHL lesions were enrolled in the study. The primary outcome of this study was a change of > or =15 letters (3 lines) in best-corrected visual acuity by 1 year. Secondary outcomes included changes in macular thickness, as determined by optical coherence tomography, and changes in fluorescein leakage.
RESULTS: Two of five patients completed the course of treatment and 1 year of follow-up. These two patients had progressive decrease in retinal hard exudate and reduction in central retinal thickness measured by optical coherence tomography. One of these two patients had improvement in visual acuity of 3 lines. No significant change in fluorescein leakage or tumor size was detected in either patient. Lesions in the other three patients continued to progress despite treatment, and these patients did not complete the entire treatment course. One patient developed a tractional retinal detachment. Additional serious adverse events included transient postinjection hypotony in two eyes.
CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF therapy (pegaptanib) may decrease retinal thickening minimally and reduce retinal hard exudates in some patients with advanced VHL angiomas. This finding may be related to a reduction in vasopermeability, because there was no apparent effect of treatment on the size of the primary retinal angiomas in this small pilot study.