A case of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis successfully treated with mepolizumab

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Monday, 09 April 2018 11:31

BMC Pulmonary Medicine

BMC series – open, inclusive and trusted 2018 18:53

Takeshi Terashima,T aro Shinozaki, Eri Iwami,Takahiro Nakajima and Tatsu Matsuzaki



Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is an allergic pulmonary disease comprising a complex hypersensitivity reaction to Aspergillus fumigatus. Clinical features of ABPA are wheezing, mucoid impaction, and pulmonary infiltrates. Oral corticosteroids and anti-fungal agents are standard therapy for ABPA, but long-term use of systemic corticosteroids often causes serious side effects.

Case presentation

A 64-year-old woman was diagnosed with ABPA based on a history of bronchial asthma (from 40 years of age), elevated total IgE, the presence of serum precipitating antibodies and elevated specific IgE antibody to A. fumigatus, and pulmonary infiltration. Bronchoscopy showed eosinophilic mucoid impaction. Systemic corticosteroid therapy was initiated, and her symptoms disappeared. Peripheral eosinophilia and pulmonary infiltration recurred five months after cessation of corticosteroid treatment. Systemic corticosteroids were re-initiated and itraconazole was added as an anti-fungal agent. The patient was free of corticosteroids, aside from treatment with a short course of systemic corticosteroids for asthma exacerbation, and clinically stable with itraconazole and asthma treatments for 3 years. In 2017, she experienced significant deterioration. Laboratory examination revealed marked eosinophilia (3017/μL) and a chest computed tomography (CT) scan demonstrated pulmonary infiltration in the left upper lobe and mucoid impaction in both lower lobes. The patient was treated with high-dose inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta-agonist, a long-acting muscarinic antagonist, a leukotriene receptor antagonist, and theophylline; spirometry revealed a forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) of 1.01 L. An uncontrolled asthma state was indicated by an Asthma Control Test (ACT) score of 18. Mepolizumab, 100 mg every 4 weeks, was initiated for the treatment of severe bronchial asthma with ABPA exacerbation. Bronchial asthma symptoms dramatically improved, and ACT score increased to 24, by 4 weeks after mepolizumab treatment. Peripheral eosinophil count decreased to 174/μL. Spirometry revealed improvement of lung function (FEV1: 1.28 L). A chest CT scan demonstrated the disappearance of pulmonary infiltration and mucoid impaction.


To our knowledge, this is the first case of ABPA to be treated with mepolizumab. Dramatic improvements were observed in symptoms, lung function, peripheral eosinophil counts, and chest images. Mepolizumab could serve as an alternative treatment with the potential to provide a systemic corticosteroid-sparing effect.

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Pulmonary interstitial emphysema in fatal asthma: case report and histopathological review

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Sunday, 25 March 2018 18:00
Thais MauadFelipe B. P. do NascimentoMarisa DolhnikoffMilena C. M. PickaPaulo H. N. Saldiva and on behalf of BIAS



Mortality related to asthma has decreased worldwide since the introduction of inhaled corticosteroid therapy in the past decades. However, there are still some asthma fatalities identified mainly in populations with less access to regular treatment. Pulmonary interstitial emphysema due to alveolar rupture has been rarely described as a complication of an acute severe asthma attack, and its identification in pathological analysis can be difficult. Previous studies reported the association of pulmonary interstitial emphysema and bronchial ductal gland ectasia in asthma.

Case presentation

We present the case of a 42-year- old man that died due to a fatal asthma attack. Postmortem computed tomography revealed the unusual finding of acute Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema, confirmed by pathological analysis. We reviewed 28 cases of fatal asthma tissue and identified the presence of pulmonary interstitial emphysema in 10% of the cases.


Postmortem computed tomography is a useful complimentary diagnostic tool for autopsies. Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema in acute exacerbations of asthma seems to be more frequent than reported. Alveolar hyperdistension and bronchial duct gland ectasia causing tissue rupture are possible mechanisms involved in the formation of Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema. The clinical impact of Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema in asthma is unknown.

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An algorithmic approach for the treatment of severe uncontrolled asthma

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Friday, 09 March 2018 16:30
Eleftherios ZervasKonstantinos SamitasAndriana I. PapaioannouPetros BakakosStelios LoukidesMina Gaga


A small subgroup of patients with asthma suffers from severe disease that is either partially controlled or uncontrolled despite intensive, guideline-based treatment. These patients have significantly impaired quality of life and although they constitute <5% of all asthma patients, they are responsible for more than half of asthma-related healthcare costs. Here, we review a definition for severe asthma and present all therapeutic options currently available for these severe asthma patients. Moreover, we suggest a specific algorithmic treatment approach for the management of severe, difficult-to-treat asthma based on specific phenotype characteristics and biomarkers. The diagnosis and management of severe asthma requires specialised experience, time and effort to comprehend the needs and expectations of each individual patient and incorporate those as well as his/her specific phenotype characteristics into the management planning. Although some new treatment options are currently available for these patients, there is still a need for further research into severe asthma and yet more treatment options.

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Association of Inhaled Corticosteroids and Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonists With Asthma Control in Patients With Uncontrolled, Persistent Asthma A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Monday, 19 March 2018 21:50
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Key Points

Question  What is the efficacy associated with long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) as add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids in patients with uncontrolled, persistent asthma?

Findings  In this meta-analysis that included 15 randomized clinical trials with 7122 participants 12 years or older with uncontrolled, persistent asthma, LAMA vs placebo as an add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids was associated with a lower risk of exacerbations requiring systemic corticosteroids (risk difference, −1.8).

Meaning  LAMA use was associated with better clinical outcomes than placebo in patients with uncontrolled, persistent asthma.


Importance  Long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) are a potential adjunct therapy to inhaled corticosteroids in the management of persistent asthma.

Objective  To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects associated with LAMA vs placebo or vs other controllers as an add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids and the use of a LAMA as add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting β-agonists (LABAs; hereafter referred to as triple therapy) vs inhaled corticosteroids and LABA in patients with uncontrolled, persistent asthma.

Data Sources  MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane databases, and clinical trial registries (earliest date through November 28, 2017).

Study Selection  Two reviewers selected randomized clinical trials or observational studies evaluating a LAMA vs placebo or vs another controller as an add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids or triple therapy vs inhaled corticosteroids and LABA in patients with uncontrolled, persistent asthma reporting on an outcome of interest.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Meta-analyses using a random-effects model was conducted to calculate risk ratios (RRs), risk differences (RDs), and mean differences (MDs) with corresponding 95% CIs. Citation screening, data abstraction, risk assessment, and strength-of-evidence grading were completed by 2 independent reviewers.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Asthma exacerbations.

Results  Of 1326 records identified, 15 randomized clinical trials (N = 7122 patients) were included. Most trials assessed adding LAMA vs placebo or LAMA vs LABA to inhaled corticosteroids. Adding LAMA vs placebo to inhaled corticosteroids was associated with a significantly reduced risk of exacerbation requiring systemic corticosteroids (RR, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.48 to 0.92]; RD, −0.02 [95% CI, −0.04 to 0.00]). Compared with adding LABA, adding LAMA to inhaled corticosteroids was not associated with significant improvements in exacerbation risk (RR, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.53 to 1.42]; RD, 0.00 [95% CI, −0.02 to 0.02]), or any other outcomes of interest. Triple therapy was not significantly associated with improved exacerbation risk vs inhaled corticosteroids and LABA (RR, 0.84 [95% CI, 0.57 to 1.22]; RD, −0.01 [95% CI, −0.08 to 0.07]).

Conclusions and Relevance  In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the use of LAMA compared with placebo as add-on therapy to inhaled corticosteroids was associated with a lower risk of asthma exacerbations; however, the association of LAMA with benefit may not be greater than that with LABA. Triple therapy was not associated with a lower risk of exacerbations.

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Effects of treatment changes on asthma phenotype prevalence and airway neutrophil function

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Thursday, 22 February 2018 13:19
BMC Pulmonary Medicine 
Collin R. Brooks, Christine J. Van DalenElizabeth HardingIan F. Hermans and Jeroen Douwes



Asthma inflammatory phenotypes are often defined by relative cell counts of airway eosinophils/neutrophils. However, the importance of neutrophilia remains unclear, as does the effect of ICS treatment on asthma phenotypes and airway neutrophil function. The purpose of this study was to assess asthma phenotype prevalence/characteristics in a community setting, and, in a nested preliminary study, determine how treatment changes affect phenotype stability and inflammation, with particular focus on airway neutrophils.


Fifty adult asthmatics and 39 non-asthmatics were assessed using questionnaires, skin prick tests, spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) measurement, and sputum induction. Twenty-one asthmatics underwent further assessment following treatment optimisation (n = 11) or sub-optimisation (n = 10).


Forty percent (20/50) had eosinophilic asthma (EA) and 8% had neutrophilic asthma. EA was associated with increased FENO, bronchodilator reversibility (BDR) and reduced lung function (p < 0.05). Following optimisation/sub-optimisation, the EA/NEA (non-eosinophilic asthma) phenotype changed in 11/21 (52%) asthmatics. In particular, fewer subjects had EA post treatment optimisation, but this was not statistically significant. However, a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in FENO, ACQ7 score, and BDR was observed after treatment optimisation, as well as an increase in FEV1-% predicted (p < 0.05). It was also associated with reduced eosinophils (p < 0.05) and enhanced neutrophil phagocytosis (p < 0.05) in EA only, and enhanced neutrophil oxidative burst in both EA and NEA (p < 0.05).


In this community based population, non-eosinophilic asthma was common, less severe than EA, and at baseline most asthmatics showed no evidence of inflammation. In the nested change in treatment study, treatment optimisation was associated with reduced sputum eosinophils, improved symptoms and lung function, and enhanced neutrophil function, but a significant reduction in EA could not be demonstrated.

Trial registration

The nested change in treatment component of this study is registered at the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (www.ANZCTR.org.auACTRN12617001356358. Registration date 27/09/2017. Retrospectively registered.

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Editor: Juan C. Ivancevich, MD

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