Author(s): Bafadhel M, McKenna S, Terry S, Mistry V, Pancholi M,
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Abstract RATIONALE: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and responses to treatment are heterogeneous. OBJECTIVES: Investigate the usefulness of blood eosinophils to direct corticosteroid therapy during exacerbations. METHODS: Subjects with COPD exacerbations were entered into a randomized biomarker-directed double-blind corticosteroid versus standard therapy study. Subjects in the standard arm received prednisolone for 2 weeks, whereas in the biomarker-directed arm, prednisolone or matching placebo was given according to the blood eosinophil count biomarker. Both study groups received antibiotics. Blood eosinophils were measured in the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms to define biomarker-positive and -negative exacerbations (blood eosinophil count > and ≤ 2\%, respectively). The primary outcome was to determine noninferiority in health status using the chronic respiratory questionnaire (CRQ) and in the proportion of exacerbations associated with a treatment failure between subjects allocated to the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: There were 86 and 80 exacerbations in the biomarker-directed and standard treatment groups, respectively. In the biomarker-directed group, 49\% of the exacerbations were not treated with prednisolone. CRQ improvement after treatment in the standard and biomarker-directed therapy groups was similar (0.8 vs. 1.1; mean difference, 0.3; 95\% confidence interval, 0.0-0.6; P = 0.05). There was a greater improvement in CRQ in biomarker-negative exacerbations given placebo compared with those given prednisolone (mean difference, 0.45; 95\% confidence interval, 0.01-0.90; P = 0.04). In biomarker-negative exacerbations, treatment failures occurred in 15\% given prednisolone and 2\% of those given placebo (P = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: The peripheral blood eosinophil count is a promising biomarker to direct corticosteroid therapy during COPD exacerbations, but larger studies are required.
This article was published in Am J Respir Crit Care Med
and referenced in Journal of Pediatric Neurology and Medicine