Reslizumab and Eosinophilic Asthma: One Step Closer to Precision Medicine?

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:08
imageGilda Varricchi1,2imageGianenrico Senna3imageStefania Loffredo1,2imageDiego Bagnasco4imageMatteo Ferrando4 and imageGiorgio Walter Canonica5*
1Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Department of Translational Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
2Center for Basic and Clinical Immunology Research (CISI), University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
3Asthma Center and Allergy Unit, Verona University, General Hospital, Verona, Italy
4Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI Department of Internal Medicine, IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
5Personalized Medicine Clinic Asthma and Allergy Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Department of Biomedical Science, Humanitas University, Rozzano, Milano, Italy

Human eosinophils represent approximately 1% of peripheral blood leukocytes. However, these cells have the propensity to leave the blood stream and migrate into inflamed tissues. Eosinophilic inflammation is present in a significant proportion of patients with severe asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects more than 315 million people worldwide, with 10% having severe uncontrolled disease. Although the majority of patients can be efficiently treated, severe asthmatics continue to be uncontrolled and are at risk of exacerbations and even death. Interleukin-5 (IL-5) plays a fundamental role in eosinophil differentiation, maturation, activation and inhibition of apoptosis. Therefore, targeting IL-5 is an appealing approach to the treatment of patients with severe eosinophilic asthma. Reslizumab, a humanized anti-IL-5 monoclonal antibody, binds with high affinity to amino acids 89–92 of IL-5 that are critical for binding to IL-5 receptor α. Two phase III studies have demonstrated that reslizumab administration in adult patients with severe asthma and eosinophilia (≥400 cells/μL) improved lung function, asthma control, and symptoms. Thus, the use of blood eosinophils as a baseline biomarker could help to select patients with severe uncontrolled asthma who are likely to achieve benefits in asthma control with reslizumab. In conclusion, targeted therapy with reslizumab represents one step closer to precision medicine in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma.


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Natural killer cell–mediated inflammation resolution is disabled in severe asthma

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Saturday, 11 March 2017 12:04
RESEARCH ARTICLE
ASTHMA

NK cells in severe asthma—Failed resolution

Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are a first line of defense against many types of asthma, but patients with severe asthma do not frequently respond to this therapy. Duvall et al. now report that this lack of response may be due in part to defects in natural killer (NK) cells, which are important mediators of inflammation resolution. They found that NK cells from patients with severe asthma had impaired killing and that corticosteroid exposure further inhibited the function of these cells, whereas the proresolving mediator LXA4 preserved NK cell effector mechanisms. Therefore, corticosteroids may be a counterproductive therapy in patients with severe asthma, and specifically activating NK cells may provide an alternate therapeutic target.

Abstract

Severe asthma is typically characterized by chronic airway inflammation that is refractory to corticosteroids and associated with excess morbidity. Patients were recruited into the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–sponsored Severe Asthma Research Program and comprehensively phenotyped by bronchoscopy. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells were analyzed by flow cytometry. Compared with healthy individuals (n = 21), patients with asthma (n = 53) had fewer BAL natural killer (NK) cells. Patients with severe asthma (n = 29) had a marked increase in the ratios of CD4+ T cells to NK cells and neutrophils to NK cells. BAL NK cells in severe asthma were skewed toward the cytotoxic CD56dim subset, with significantly increased BAL fluid levels of the cytotoxic mediator granzyme A. The numbers of BAL CD56dim NK cells and CCR6CCR4 T helper 1–enriched CD4+ T cells correlated inversely with lung function [forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) % predicted] in asthma. Relative to cells from healthy controls, peripheral blood NK cells from asthmatic patients had impaired killing of K562 myeloid target cells despite releasing more cytotoxic mediators. Ex vivo exposure to dexamethasone markedly decreased blood NK cell lysis of target cells and cytotoxic mediator release. NK cells expressed airway lipoxin A4/formyl peptide receptor 2 receptors, and in contrast to dexamethasone, lipoxin A4–exposed NK cells had preserved functional responses. Together, our findings indicate that the immunology of the severe asthma airway is characterized by decreased NK cell cytotoxicity with increased numbers of target leukocytes, which is exacerbated by corticosteroids that further disable NK cell function. These failed resolution mechanisms likely contribute to persistent airway inflammation in severe asthma.

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Japanese guidelines for adult asthma 2017☆

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Tuesday, 21 February 2017 04:03

Abstract

Adult bronchial asthma is characterized by chronic airway inflammation, and presents clinically with variable airway narrowing (wheezes and dyspnea) and cough. Long-standing asthma induces airway remodeling, leading to intractable asthma. The number of patients with asthma has increased; however, the number of patients who die of asthma has decreased (1.2 per 100,000 patients in 2015). The goal of asthma treatment is to enable patients with asthma to attain normal pulmonary function and lead a normal life, without any symptoms. A good relationship between physicians and patients is indispensable for appropriate treatment. Long-term management by therapeutic agents and elimination of the causes and risk factors of asthma are fundamental to its treatment. Four steps in pharmacotherapy differentiate between mild and intensive treatments; each step includes an appropriate daily dose of an inhaled corticosteroid, varying from low to high levels. Long-acting β2-agonists, leukotriene receptor antagonists, sustained-release theophylline, and long-acting muscarinic antagonist are recommended as add-on drugs, while anti-immunoglobulin E antibody and oral steroids are considered for the most severe and persistent asthma related to allergic reactions. Bronchial thermoplasty has recently been developed for severe, persistent asthma, but its long-term efficacy is not known. Inhaled β2-agonists, aminophylline, corticosteroids, adrenaline, oxygen therapy, and other approaches are used as needed during acute exacerbations, by choosing treatment steps for asthma in accordance with the severity of exacerbations. Allergic rhinitis, eosinophilic chronic rhinosinusitis, eosinophilic otitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, aspirin-induced asthma, and pregnancy are also important issues that need to be considered in asthma therapy.

Abstract
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References

 
 

Inhaled Corticosteroid Claims and Outpatient Visits After Hospitalization for Asthma Among Commercially Insured Children

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Thursday, 09 March 2017 12:09
 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine rates of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) claims and outpatient follow-up after asthma hospitalization among commercially insured children.

METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of children hospitalized for asthma using 2013 national Truven MarketScan data. Covariates included age, sex, region, length of stay, and having an ICS claim within 35 days before hospitalization. Outcome variables were a claim for any ICS-containing medication and outpatient visit within 30 days after discharge. Multivariable analysis used logistic regression.

RESULTS:

A total of 5471 children aged 2 to 17 were included; 61% were boys, and mean age was 6.8 years. Forty-one percent had a claim for an ICS and 76% had an outpatient visit within 30 days after hospital discharge. In multivariable analysis, children who had an ICS claim within 35 days before the hospitalization were more likely to have an ICS claim within 30 days after discharge (relative risk [RR] 1.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-1.5). The strongest predictor of an ICS claim within 30 days after discharge was attendance at an outpatient appointment (RR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3-1.6). Children aged 2 to 6 were more likely to attend an outpatient appointment (RR 1.1, 95% CI 1.1-1.2). Children with an ICS claim before admission were also more likely to attend an outpatient appointment (RR 1.1, 95% CI 1.004-1.1).

CONCLUSIONS:

In this national sample of commercially insured children with asthma, rates of ICS claims after hospitalization are low despite high rates of outpatient visits. Both inpatient and outpatient physicians must play a role in increasing ICS adherence in this high-risk population of children with asthma.

Effect of inhaled corticosteroid particle size on asthma efficacy and safety outcomes: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

Juan Carlos Ivancevich Monday, 13 February 2017 16:05
 
OPEN ACCESS
 
 
Céline El Baou Email author, Rachael L. Di Santostefano, Rafael Alfonso-CristanchoElizabeth A SuarezDavid StempelMark L Everard and Neil Barnes
BMC Pulmonary MedicineBMC series – open, inclusive and trusted 201717:31

DOI: 10.1186/s12890-016-0348-4

Abstract

Background

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are the primary treatment for persistent asthma. Currently available ICS have differing particle size due to both formulation and propellant, and it has been postulated that this may impact patient outcomes. This structured literature review and meta-analysis compared the effect of small and standard particle size ICS on lung function, symptoms, rescue use (when available) and safety in patients with asthma as assessed in head-to-head randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Methods

A systematic literature search of MEDLINE was performed to identify RCTs (1998–2014) evaluating standard size (fluticasone propionate-containing medications) versus small particle size ICS medication in adults and children with asthma. Efficacy outcomes included forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), symptom scores, % predicted forced expiratory flow between 25 and 75% of forced vital capacity (FEF25–75%), and rescue medication use. Safety outcomes were also evaluated when available.

Results

Twenty-three independent trials that met the eligibility criteria were identified. Benefit-risk plots did not demonstrate any clinically meaningful differences across the five efficacy endpoints considered and no appreciable differences were noted for most safety endpoints. Meta-analysis results, using a random-effects model, demonstrated no significant difference between standard and small size particle ICS medications in terms of effects on mean change from baseline FEV1 (L) (−0.011, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.037, 0.014 [N = 3524]), morning PEF (L/min) (medium/low doses: −3.874, 95% CI: −10.915, 3.166 [N = 1911]; high/high-medium doses: 5.551, 95% CI: −1.948, 13.049 [N = 749]) and FEF25–75% predicted (−2.418, 95% CI: −6.400; 1.564 [N = 115]).

Conclusions

Based on the available literature, no clinically significant differences in efficacy or safety were observed comparing small and standard particle size ICS medications for the treatment of asthma.

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Editor: Juan C. Ivancevich, MD

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