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Studies of the Ocular Complications of AIDS (SOCA)--Cytomegalovirus Retinitis Retreatment Trial (CRRT)

Purpose | Background | Description | Patient Eligibility | Recruitment Status | Current Status | Results | Publications | Resource Centers | NEI Representative



CMV retinitis is the most common intraocular infection in patients with AIDS and is estimated to affect 35 to 40 percent of patients with AIDS. Untreated CMV retinitis is a progressive disorder, the end result of which is total retinal destruction and blindness. At the time of this trial, drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of CMV retinitis were ganciclovir (Cytovene) and foscarnet (Foscavir). Although most retinitis responds well to initial therapy with systemically administered drugs, given enough time, nearly all patients will suffer a relapse of the retinitis. Relapsed retinitis generally responds to reinduction and maintenance therapy, but the interval between successive relapses progressively shortens. The CRRT addressed the issue of the management of relapsed CMV retinitis.


The CRRT was a multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial comparing three regimens in patients with relapsed retinitis. Patients with AIDS and CMV retinitis that had relapsed or was nonresponsive to initial therapy were randomized to one of three regimens: (1) intravenous foscarnet reinduction at 90 mg/kg twice daily for 2 weeks, followed by maintenance therapy at 120 mg/kg/day; (2) intravenous ganciclovir reinduction at 5 mg/kg twice daily for 2 weeks followed by maintenance at 10 mg/kg/day; and (3) combination therapy, wherein patients continued their previous therapy and were reinduced with the second drug and then placed on maintenance therapy with foscarnet at 90 mg/kg/day and ganciclovir at 5 mg/kg/day. Outcome measures in this trial were survival, retinitis progression, loss of visual function (acuity and field), and morbidity.

Patient Eligibility

Males and females eligible for the CRRT must have been age 18 years or older and have had AIDS and CMV retinitis. They must have had active CMV despite a minimum of 28 days of previous treatment with an anti-CMV drug. Furthermore, they must have had an absolute neutrophil count > 500 cells/µL, platelet count > 20,000 cells/µL, and a serum creatinine < 2.5 mg/dL in order to tolerate the drug regimens.

Patient Recruitment Status

Completed. Patient recruitment began in December 1992 and was completed in March 1995.

Current Status of Study



The Cytomegalovirus Retinitis Retreatment Trial demonstrated that combination therapy with foscarnet and ganciclovir was more effective than monotherapy with either drug alone for controlling CMV retinitis that had relapsed. Combination therapy was no more toxic than monotherapy but had a greater impact on quality of life, presumably because of the requirement for two infusions. Switching monotherapy was no more effective than continuing with the same drug.


The Studies of Ocular Complications of AIDS Research Group in collaboration with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group: Combination foscarnet and ganciclovir therapy vs. monotherapy for the treatment of relapsed cytomegalovirus retinitis in patients with AIDS. Arch Ophthalmol 114: 23-33, 1996.

Resource Centers

Chairman's office
Douglas A. Jabs, M.D.
The Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute
Department of Ophthalmology
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
550 North Broadway, Suite 700
Baltimore, MD 21205
Telephone: (410) 955-1966

Coordinating Center
Curtis L. Meinert, Ph.D.
Department of Epidemiology
School of Hygiene and Public Health
The Johns Hopkins University
615 North Wolfe Street, Room 5010
Baltimore, MD 21205
Telephone: (410) 955-8198

SOCA Website

NEI Representative

Natalie Kurinij, Ph.D.
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
6120 Executive Boulevard MSC 7164
Bethesda, MD 20892-7164
Telephone: (301) 496-5983
Fax: (301) 402-0528

Last Updated: 10/21/99

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