Biomarker for Asthma Patients With Steroid Incompatibility

Inhaled corticosteroid is the treatment of choice to control lung inflammation in asthma patients.

RESEARCH The problem is that 15% to 20% of patients may be unresponsive to inhaled steroids. There are alternatives like omalizumab (Xolair) or montelukast (Singulair). Hence, advance knowledge of ineffective treatment can prevent patient discomfort as reported in a poster presentation at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology meeting.

A study was conducted on 89 patients, 24 of whom were determined to be steroid-resistant. Researchers performed an in vitro experiment on peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 44 asthmatic patients, without regard to whether they were steroid-resistant, to correlate plasma uteroglobin with steroid responsiveness.

The latter was measured by the quantity of dexamethasone required to suppress lymphocyte proliferation and tumor necrosis factor production, both of which are associated with inflammatory activity. Researchers found strong correlations – r coefficients of 0.35 and 0.46, respectively, both with P<0.05 – between uteroglobin and steroid responsiveness in these cells.

Elena Goleva, PhD, of National Jewish Health in Denver concludes: "It appears that uteroglobin could be a useful biomarker in guiding treatment selection."

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