Brolucizumab Therapy for DME Linked With Significant Visual Gains

Retinal edema
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) of a patient show has a retinal edema. (Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Study compared brolucizumab (6 mg) to aflibercept (2 mg) in the treatment of diabetic macular edema.

This article is part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s Focus on Retina coverage from the 2021 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held in New Orleans from November 12 to 15, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the retinal experts at the AAO. Check back for more from the AAO 2021 Meeting.


Patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) had comparable gains in visual acuity and significant reductions in central subfield thickness when treated with brolucizumab (BRO) in comparison with aflibercept (AFL), according to results from 2 ongoing phase 3 studies comparing the safety and efficacy of the drugs. Results from these studies were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans from November 12-15. 

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either BRO 3/6 mg or AFL 2 mg in the KESTREL clinical trial ( Identifier: NCT03481634). In the KITE trial ( Identifier: NCT03481660), patients were randomized 1:1 to BRO 6 mg or AFL 2 mg. Patients receiving BRO were given 5 loading doses every 6 weeks (q6w) followed by q12w dosing in the first year of treatment. Investigators were given the option to adjust BRO patients to q8w if disease activity was detected. In the AFL group, five loading doses were administered followed by fixed q8w dosing. 

In both KESTREL and KITE, investigators found that BRO 6 mg and AFL 2 mg were similar in terms of the observed change in best corrected visual acuity at week 52, with greater than 50% of BRO 6 mg patients remaining on a q12w dosing interval through the first year of treatment. In addition to positive changes in visual acuity, BRO 6 mg led to significant improvements in central subfield thickness from baseline in both studies. In addition to this, BRO was well-tolerated in patients. 

“In KESTREL and KITE, BRO 6 mg demonstrated robust visual gains and anatomical improvements in patients with DME,” researchers concluded.

Visit Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference section for the complete Focus on Retina coverage from the AAO 2021.



Dhoot DS, Brown DM, Wolf S, et al. Brolucizumab for the treatment of DME: 52-week results from the KESTREL and KITE studies. Paper presented at: The American Academy of Ophthalmology 2021 Annual Meeting; November 12-15, 2021; New Orleans. Abstract PA060.