Major clinical trial finds no link between genetic risk factors and 2 top wet AMD treatments

February 12, 2013, American Academy of Ophthalmology

New findings from a landmark clinical trial show that although certain gene variants may predict whether a person is likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a potentially blinding eye disease that afflicts more than nine million Americans, these genes do not predict how patients will respond to Lucentis™ and Avastin, the two medications most widely used to treat the "wet" form of AMD. This new data from the Comparison of AMD Treatment Trials (CATT), published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, found no significant association between four gene variants and outcomes that measured the patients' responses to treatment.

The CATT team wanted to learn whether the major AMD risk genes could be useful in tailoring treatment with Avastin and to individual patients' needs to boost treatment effectiveness and safety for patients. The main CATT study had confirmed that both medications significantly reduce or even reverse in many patients with wet AMD, but that study also found that treatment effectiveness varied among patients. The CATT genetics study, led by Stephanie Hagstrom, Ph.D., at the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, clearly showed that the major AMD risk do not predict patients' response to treatment.

This genetics study cohort comprised 73 percent of the 1,149 CATT participants. Cohort patients were evaluated for four gene variants linked to AMD risk: CFH, ARMS2, HTRA1, and C3. The patients' genotypes were then compared to their responses to treatment with Lucentis or Avastin. Both medications are anti-vascular epithelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapies that work in similar ways to reduce or prevent abnormal and leakage. The researchers found no significant associations among the four gene variants and the outcomes that measured the patients' responses to treatment, which were improvement or loss of , the status of the retinal anatomy, and the number of medication injections given.

"Our genetic research team remains hopeful that gene variants that predict patient response to AMD treatments will be identified soon," said Dr. Hagstrom. "This would enable a significant leap forward in ophthalmologists' ability to individualize treatment and care plans for their patients."

The main CATT study was a multi-center clinical trial that was funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by Daniel F. Martin, M.D., Chairman of the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. The study compared Lucentis and for effectiveness and safety in treating the wet form of AMD.

The findings of the CATT genetic study lend further weight to the 's 2012 recommendation on the use of genetic testing . This study assessed the same four major gene variants that are most widely used in current AMD genetic tests and found that the treatment response in patients who carried the gene variants was no better or worse than in patients who did not. The Academy advises against routine genetic testing for AMD and other complex eye disorders until specific treatment or monitoring strategies have been shown in clinical trials to be of benefit to people with specific, risk-linked genotypes.

Wet AMD, also called neovascular AMD, can severely damage vision if not treated in time. About 10 percent of patients suffer from the wet form, in which abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye that is crucial to good vision. These vessels leak fluid or blood, which blurs or distorts the central vision that enables people to read, recognize faces, drive, and perform other daily activities. Scientists now think that about half of all cases of AMD are related to specific genes.

Explore further: Avastin and Lucentis are equivalent in treating age-related macular degeneration

Related Stories

Avastin and Lucentis are equivalent in treating age-related macular degeneration

April 30, 2012
At two years, Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab injection), two widely used drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), improve vision when administered monthly or on an as needed basis, although ...

Study finds Avastin and Lucentis are equally effective in treating AMD

April 28, 2011
Researchers are reporting results from the first year of a two-year clinical trial that Avastin, a drug approved to treat some cancers and that is commonly used off-label to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is ...

Age-related macular degeneration treatment works even with other eye problem

November 11, 2012
The primary treatment for wet macular degeneration, a chronic eye condition that causes vision loss, is effective even if patients have macular traction problems, a Mayo Clinic study shows. The findings will be presented ...

Avastin has similar effect to Lucentis in treating wet age-related macular degeneration

May 7, 2012
The one year results from a study into whether two drug treatments (Lucentis and Avastin), are equally effective in treating neovascular or wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), have been reported today at an international ...

Recommended for you

Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma

January 16, 2018
While testing genes to treat glaucoma by reducing pressure inside the eye, University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists stumbled onto a problem: They had trouble getting efficient gene delivery to the cells that act like drains ...

New study offers added hope for patients awaiting corneal transplants

January 9, 2018
New national research led by Jonathan Lass of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has found that corneal donor tissue can be safely stored for 11 days before transplantation surgery to correct eye problems ...

Diabetic blindness caused and reversed "trapped" immune cells in rodent retinas

January 3, 2018
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels ...

Ophthalmologists increasingly dissatisfied with electronic health records

December 29, 2017
Ophthalmologists' use of electronic health records (EHR) systems for storing and accessing patients' medical histories more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, while their perceptions of financial and clinical productivity ...

Higher omega-3 fatty acid intake tied to lower glaucoma risk

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Increased daily intake of ω-3 fatty acids is associated with lower odds of glaucoma, but higher levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake are associated with higher odds of developing glaucoma, ...

Protein analysis allows for treatment of eye-disease symptoms with existing drugs

December 21, 2017
Demonstrating the potential of precision health, a team led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has matched existing drugs to errant proteins expressed by patients with a rare eye disease.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.