External beam radiotherapy in exudative age-related macular degeneration: a pooled analysis of phase I data

U. Chakravarthy, G. Mackenzie

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36 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) has been proposed as a treatment for the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) where choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is the hallmark. While the majority of pilot (Phase I) studies have reported encouraging results, a few have found no benefit, i.e. EBRT was not found to result in either improvement or stabilization of visual acuity of the treated eye. The natural history of visual loss in untreated CNV of AMD is highly variable. Loss of vision is influenced mainly by the presenting acuity, and size and composition of the lesion, and to a lesser extent by a variety of other factors. Thus the variable outcome reported by the small Phase I studies of EBRT published to date may simply reflect the variation in baseline factors. We therefore obtained information on 409 patients treated with EBRT from eight independent centres, which included details of visual acuity at baseline and at subsequent follow-up visits. Analysis of the data showed that 22.5% and 14.9% of EBRT-treated eyes developed moderate and severe loss of vision, respectively, during an average follow-up of 13 months. Initial visual acuity, which explained 20.5% of the variation in visual loss, was the most important baseline factor studied. Statistically significant differences in loss of vision were observed between centres, after considering the effects of case mix factors. Comparisons with historical data suggested that while moderate visual loss was similar to that of the natural history of the disease, the likelihood of suffering severe visual loss was halved. However, the benefit in terms of maintained/improved vision in the treated eye was modest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number867
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2000


  • Humans
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Aged
  • Middle Aged
  • Visual Acuity
  • Male
  • Female
  • Choroidal Neovascularization

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