MERLIN: Phase 3a, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Masked Trial of Brolucizumab in Participants with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Persistent Retinal Fluid.

Journal Article (Clinical Trial, Phase III;Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

PURPOSE: To assess the 52-week efficacy and safety of brolucizumab 6 mg administered every 4 weeks compared with aflibercept 2 mg dosed every 4 weeks in eyes with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) and persistent retinal fluid. DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized, double-masked phase 3a study. PARTICIPANTS: Participants with recalcitrant nAMD (persistent residual retinal fluid despite previous frequent anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment). METHODS: Eyes were randomized (2:1) to intravitreal brolucizumab 6 mg or aflibercept 2 mg every 4 weeks up to and including week 100. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end point was analysis of noninferiority in mean best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) change from baseline to week 52 (margin, 4 letters). Other key end points included change in central subfield thickness (CST) from baseline to week 52, fluid-free status (no intraretinal fluid and no subretinal fluid), and safety. RESULTS: At week 52, brolucizumab was noninferior to aflibercept in BCVA change from baseline (least squares mean difference, -0.6 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study letters; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.1 to 0.9; P < 0.001). A total of 4.8% and 1.7% of participants reported a 15-letter or more BCVA loss from baseline at week 52 in the brolucizumab and aflibercept groups, respectively. In eyes treated with brolucizumab compared with those treated with aflibercept, the CST was reduced significantly (P < 0.001), and a significantly greater proportion of eyes were fluid free at week 52 (40.4% brolucizumab vs. 19.0% aflibercept; 95% CI, 13.9-29.0; P < 0.001). Incidence of intraocular inflammation (IOI), including retinal vasculitis and retinal vascular occlusion, were 9.3% (0.8% and 2.0%) for brolucizumab versus 4.5% (0% and 0%) for aflibercept, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Visual acuity outcomes in previously treated participants with nAMD and persistent retinal fluid receiving brolucizumab 6 mg dosed every 4 weeks were noninferior to aflibercept 2 mg dosed every 4 weeks, with superior anatomic outcomes. However, incidences of IOI, including retinal vasculitis and retinal vascular occlusion, also were higher, leading to study termination.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Khanani, AM; Brown, DM; Jaffe, GJ; Wykoff, CC; Adiguzel, E; Wong, R; Meng, X; Heier, JS; MERLIN Investigators,

Published Date

  • September 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 129 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 974 - 985

PubMed ID

  • 35537533

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1549-4713

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ophtha.2022.04.028


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States