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Ophthalmology. 2001 Jul;108(7):1179-83.

Adjuvant 5-fluorouracil and heparin prevents proliferative vitreoretinopathy : Results from a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial.

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Departments of Vitreoretinal Surgery and Glaucoma, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England, UK.



To assess the safety and efficacy of adjuvant combination therapy using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) for prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) after vitrectomy and retinal reattachment surgery.


Prospective randomized, double-masked, placebo controlled trial.


One hundred seventy-four high-risk patients were randomized to receive either 5-FU and LMWH therapy or placebo. Patients were selected from all patients undergoing primary vitrectomy for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.


Results of standard surgery with 5-FU and LMWH therapy or placebo were compared at the 6-month follow-up.


Development of postoperative PVR, retinal reattachment at 6 months after surgery, single operation reattachment rate, number of reoperations, and best-corrected visual acuity.


There were 87 patients in the 5-FU and LMWH therapy group and 87 in the placebo group. The incidence of postoperative PVR was significantly lower (P = 0.02) in the 5-FU and LMWH therapy compared with the placebo group. In 26.4% (23/87) of the placebo group and in 12.6% (11/87) of the 5-FU and LMWH group, postoperative PVR developed. In the 5-FU and LMWH group, the number of patients undergoing more than one operation was 19.5% (17/87) and the number of reoperations resulting from PVR was 52.9% (9/17). In the placebo group, the number of patients undergoing more than one operation was 25.3% (22/87) and the number of reoperations resulting from PVR was 72.7% (16/22). The difference in visual acuity was not statistically different in the two treatment groups, although those patients in whom postoperative PVR developed tended to have poorer vision (P < 0.0001). There were no differences in complication rates between the two groups.


There is a significant reduction in the incidence of postoperative PVR in patients receiving the 5-FU and LMWH therapy and in the reoperation rate resulting from PVR. This trial shows that incidence of PVR can be reduced with inexpensive and simple pharmacologic treatment with 5-FU and LMWH and should be used routinely in the treatment of patients at risk of developing PVR.

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