Serious Adverse Events with Bevacizumab or Ranibizumab for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Meta-analysis of Individual Patient Data

Maureen G Maguire, James Shaffrer, Gul-shuang Ying, Usha Chakravarthy, Karina Berg, Ragnhelour Bragadottir, Evelyne deculier, Laure Huot, Laurent Kodjikian, Daniel F Martin , Barnaby Reeves, Chris Rogers, Ann-Sofie M.E. Schauwvileghe, Reiner Schlingemnann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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A comparison between ranibizumab and bevacizumab of the incidence of systemic serious adverse events (SAEs) among patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) who participated in a large-scale randomized trial. Use of individual patient data, rather than aggregate data, allowed adjustment for strong predictors of SAEs.

Clinical relevance

Relative safety of ranibizumab and bevacizumab is important in choosing an anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drug for the hundreds of thousands of patients with nAMD treated each year worldwide.


Results of a Cochrane aggregate meta-analysis of the relative efficacy and safety of bevacizumab and ranibizumab that used searches of bibliographic databases and clinical trial registries as of March 14, 2014, and hand searching were reviewed to identify 6 large-scale, multicenter clinical trials. Individual patient data on SAEs, assigned drug and dosing regimen, and baseline prognostic factors were requested from the leaders of the 6 trials. A 2-stage approach was used to estimate relative risks and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from Cox proportional hazards models adjusting for baseline prognostic factors. The primary outcome measure was development of ≥1 SAE; secondary outcome measures were death, arteriothrombotic events, events associated with systemic anti-VEGF therapy, and events not associated with systemic anti-VEGF therapy.


Individual patient data were received from 5 trials to provide information on 3052 patients. There were no large imbalances between drug groups on baseline factors. The adjusted relative risks and 95% CIs for bevacizumab relative to ranibizumab were 1.06 (95% CI 0.84–1.35; P = 0.61) for ≥1 SAE. For secondary outcomes, adjusted relative risks were 0.99 (95% CI 0.69–1.43; P = 0.97) for death, 0.89 (95% CI 0.62–1.28; P = 0.53) for arteriothrombotic events, 1.10 (95% CI 0.81–1.50; P = 0.54) for events related to anti-VEGF treatment, and 1.11 (95% CI 0.87–1.40; P = 0.40) for events not related to anti-VEGF treatment.


Our findings support the absence of large differences in risk of systemic SAEs between these 2 anti-VEGF drugs (i.e., relative risks of ≥1.5 are unlikely). Because additional head-to-head trials are unlikely, any further investigation of differential risk between anti-VEGF agents will be achieved only through postmarketing surveillance or through the interrogation of health-care databases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-381
Number of pages25
JournalOpthalmology Retina
Issue number5
Early online date12 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

Structured keywords

  • BTC (Bristol Trials Centre)

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