Long-Term Use of Intravitreal Bevacizumab (Avastin) for the Treatment of Von Hippel-Lindau Associated Retinal Hemangioblastomas

Frank N Hrisomalos1 , Raj K. Maturi*, 1, 2, Veena Pata2
1 Indiana University Department of Ophthalmology, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
2 Vitreo-Retinal Service, Midwest Eye Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

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© Hrisomalos et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Midwest Eye Institute, 200 W. 103rd Street, suite 1060 Indianapolis, IN 46290, USA; Tel: 317-817-1414; Fax: 317-805-4587; E-mail:


Retinal hemangioblastomas are the most common manifestation of Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease [1-3]. While peripheral retinal hemangioblastomas may be treated by thermal laser treatment or cryotherapy, optic nerve and macular lesions are more difficult to treat [4, 5]. Based on the theoretical benefit of administering anti-VEGF treatment, intra-vitreally administered bevacizumab (Avastin, a general pan-VEGF inhibitor) is attractive [6, 7].

Several short-term case series using ranibizumab (Lucentis, mAb fragment of bevacizumab with stronger affinity for VEGF-A) have shown it has promising but minimal success on most VHL-related hemangioblastomas [8, 9]. A comprehensive study by Wong et al. examined 5 patients over a period up to 61 weeks (47 ± 14 weeks) while Michels et al. examined one patient over a period of 4 months. Due to the short-term nature of these studies, we attempted long-term bevacizumab treatment over 60 months in a monocular subject with progressive visual loss due to a VHL associated macular and optic nerve hemangioblastoma. Over the treatment regimen of 15 injections, visual acuity improved 25 letters, OCT thickness improved from 646 um to 424 um, and structural lesions stabilized while exudates and edema resolved.

Keywords: VHL, angioma, exudate, optic nerve glioma, bevacizumab, avastin, treatment, long-term.