Aims To determine whether there is a significant correlation between the peripapillary retinal thickness (pRT) and the serum level of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in patients with polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy and skin changes (POEMS) syndrome.
Methods This was a cross-sectional, observational case series. We studied 34 eyes of 17 treatment-naïve patients with POEMS syndrome whose intracranial pressure was within the normal range. The spectral-domain optical coherence tomographic (SD-OCT) examinations consisted of circle scans of 3.45 mm diameter around the optic disc. The pRT was automatically measured in the SD-OCT images and was used for the statistical analysis. The serum level of VEGF was measured by ELISAs, and the correlation between the pRT and the serum level of VEGF was determined. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify independent factors that were correlated with the pRT.
Results There was a significant positive correlation between the serum levels of VEGF and the average pRT of the two eyes of each patient (r=0.81, p<0.0001). There was a significant correlation between the pRT of the right and left eyes with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.839. Multiple regression analysis showed that the serum levels of VEGF were independent contributors to the pRT (standard regression coefficient=0.59, p=0.012).
Conclusions The significant correlation between the pRT and the serum level of VEGF suggests that the higher serum level of VEGF might be associated with the development of the optic disc oedema in patients with POEMS syndrome.