Background Bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody to the vascular endothelial growth factor Veg F appears to offer successful treatment of severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), but there are no human data addressing potential systemic absorption and effects on systemic Veg F levels in preterm infants. We measured Veg F in preterm infants during their stay in intensive care including some infants treated with laser or bevacizumab for ROP.
Methods Serum and plasma were salvaged as part of a consented research study in preterm infants from delivery to discharge. Veg F levels were measured using flow cytometry and analysed in relation to gestation, postmenstrual age and any ROP treatment.
Results 26 infants, median 26 wks gestational age (range 23–29 wks) contributed 114 samples. 5 received laser treatment for ROP, 2 bevacizumab. Serum VegF levels decreased with increasing postmenstrual age. Levels for those treated for ROP did not differ from those untreated. The two infants that received bevacizumab had lower VegF levels after treatment than before.
Conclusions This first data in human preterm infants with and without ROP treatment show trends with increasing postmenstrual age, and that VegF levels in infants treated with bevacizumab do not appear to differ from those untreated or those treated with laser. Individual infants receiving bevacizumab had lower VegF levels in the first week after injection than before. As bevacizumab treatment increases efforts should be made to further assess effects on circulating VegF.