Although recent studies have identified the presence of phenotypic clusters in asthmatic patients, the clinical significance and temporal stability of these clusters have not been explored.
Our aim was to examine the clinical relevance and temporal stability of phenotypic clusters in children with asthma.
We applied spectral clustering to clinical data from 1041 children with asthma participating in the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Posttreatment randomization follow-up data collected over 48 months were used to determine the effect of these clusters on pulmonary function and treatment response to inhaled anti-inflammatory medication.
We found 5 reproducible patient clusters that could be differentiated on the basis of 3 groups of features: atopic burden, degree of airway obstruction, and history of exacerbation. Cluster grouping predicted long-term asthma control, as measured by the need for oral prednisone (P < .0001) or additional controller medications (P = .001), as well as longitudinal differences in pulmonary function (P < .0001). We also found that the 2 clusters with the highest rates of exacerbation had different responses to inhaled corticosteroids when compared with the other clusters. One cluster demonstrated a positive response to both budesonide (P = .02) and nedocromil (P = .01) compared with placebo, whereas the other cluster demonstrated minimal responses to both budesonide (P = .12) and nedocromil (P = .56) compared with placebo.
Phenotypic clustering can be used to identify longitudinally consistent and clinically relevant patient subgroups, with implications for targeted therapeutic strategies and clinical trials design.
Childhood asthma; asthma phenotypes; inhaled corticosteroids; cluster analysis; asthma classification; longitudinal study
Oral corticosteroids (OCSs) are recommended for severe wheezing episodes in children. However, limited evidence supports this intervention in preschool children with outpatient wheezing illnesses.
We sought to investigate whether OCSs reduce symptom scores during acute lower respiratory tract illnesses (LRTIs) in preschool children with recurrent wheeze
We performed post hoc and replication analyses in 2 outpatient cohorts of children aged 1 to 5 years with episodic wheezing participating in clinical trials. We compared symptom scores during LRTIs that were or were not treated with OCSs, adjusting for differences in disease and episode severity covariates.We stratified episodes by severity by using a propensity model. The primary outcome was the area under the curve (AUC) of total symptom scores among the more severe episodes.
Two hundred fifteen participants from the Acute Intervention Management Strategies trial experienced 798 acute LRTIs, 112 of which were defined as severe based on propensity scores. The AUCs of total symptom scores did not differ between the episodes that were (n = 70) and were not (n = 42) treated with OCSs (P = .46) nor was there an OCS treatment effect on individual symptom scores. Similar analyses of the Maintenance Versus Intermittent Inhaled Corticosteroids in Wheezing Toddlers trial, involving 278 participants with 133 severe LRTIs, confirmed the above findings (P =.46 for AUC of total symptoms score comparison).
In 2 separate cohorts of preschool children with episodic wheezing, OCS treatment during clinically significant LRTIs did not reduce symptom severity during acute LRTIs, despite asthma controller medication use during most episodes. These findings need to be confirmed in a prospective randomized controlled trial.
Oral corticosteroids; episodic wheezing; preschool children
Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), a primary characteristic of asthma, involves increased airway smooth muscle contractility in response to certain exposures. We sought to determine whether common genetic variants were associated with AHR severity.
A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of AHR, quantified as the natural log of the dosage of methacholine causing a 20% drop in FEV1, was performed with 994 non-Hispanic white asthmatic subjects from three drug clinical trials: CAMP, CARE, and ACRN. Genotyping was performed on Affymetrix 6.0 arrays, and imputed data based on HapMap Phase 2, was used to measure the association of SNPs with AHR using a linear regression model. Replication of primary findings was attempted in 650 white subjects from DAG, and 3,354 white subjects from LHS. Evidence that the top SNPs were eQTL of their respective genes was sought using expression data available for 419 white CAMP subjects.
The top primary GWAS associations were in rs848788 (P-value 7.2E-07) and rs6731443 (P-value 2.5E-06), located within the ITGB5 and AGFG1 genes, respectively. The AGFG1 result replicated at a nominally significant level in one independent population (LHS P-value 0.012), and the SNP had a nominally significant unadjusted P-value (0.0067) for being an eQTL of AGFG1.
Based on current knowledge of ITGB5 and AGFG1, our results suggest that variants within these genes may be involved in modulating AHR. Future functional studies are required to confirm that our associations represent true biologically significant findings.
Asthma; Airway hyperresponsiveness; Genome-wide association study; ITGB5; AGFG1
Patients with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma are an understudied population but account for considerable asthma morbidity, mortality, and costs. The Epidemiology and Natural History of Asthma: Outcomes and Treatment Regimens (TENOR) study was a large, 3-year, multicenter, observational cohort study of 4756 patients (n = 3489 adults ≥18 years of age, n = 497 adolescents 13-17 years of age, and n = 770 children 6-12 years of age) with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma. TENOR's primary objective was to characterize the natural history of disease in this cohort. Data assessed semiannually and annually included demographics, medical history, comorbidities, asthma control, asthma-related health care use, medication use, lung function, IgE levels, self-reported asthma triggers, and asthma-related quality of life. We highlight the key findings and clinical implications from more than 25 peer-reviewed TENOR publications. Regardless of age, patients with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma demonstrated high rates of health care use and substantial asthma burden despite receiving multiple long-term controller medications. Recent exacerbation history was the strongest predictor of future asthma exacerbations. Uncontrolled asthma, as defined by the 2007 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines’ impairment domain, was highly prevalent and predictive of future asthma exacerbations; this assessment can be used to identify high-risk patients. IgE and allergen sensitization played a role in the majority of severe or difficult-to-treat asthmatic patients.
TENOR; severe or difficult-to-treat asthma; asthma control; asthma exacerbations; burden; medication; quality of life; allergy; IgE
The fractional concentration of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a noninvasive marker for airway inflammation but requires further study in pre-school children to determine its clinical relevance.
To determine whether the risk of respiratory tract illnesses (RTI), disease burden and atopic features are related to FeNO in preschool children with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing.
We determined FeNO using the off-line tidal breathing technique in 89 children, 12–59 months old, with moderate-severe intermittent wheezing. Risk of RTI was determined by comparing participants with baseline FeNO >75th percentile (24.4ppb) to those with FeNO ≤75th percentile using Cox regression analysis.
The risk of RTI was significantly higher in children with FeNO >24.4ppb relative to those with lower FeNO values (adjusted RR= 3.8, 95% CI: 1.74–8.22; p=0.0008). FeNO levels >24ppb were associated with a greater number of positive skin tests to aeroallergens (p=0.03), but not with other atopic characteristics or historic parameters of illness burden.
Elevated FeNO in preschool children with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing was associated with an increased risk of RTI during a one-year follow-up. In addition, higher FeNO was associated with aeroallergen sensitization.
Preschool children; exhaled nitric oxide; respiratory tract illness; wheezing
The use of inhaled glucocorticoids for persistent asthma causes a temporary reduction in growth velocity in prepubertal children. The resulting decrease in attained height 1 to 4 years after the initiation of inhaled glucocorticoids is thought not to decrease attained adult height.
We measured adult height in 943 of 1041 participants (90.6%) in the Childhood Asthma Management Program; adult height was determined at a mean (±SD) age of 24.9±2.7 years. Starting at the age of 5 to 13 years, the participants had been randomly assigned to receive 400 μg of budesonide, 16 mg of nedocromil, or placebo daily for 4 to 6 years. We calculated differences in adult height for each active treatment group, as compared with placebo, using multiple linear regression with adjustment for demographic characteristics, asthma features, and height at trial entry.
Mean adult height was 1.2 cm lower (95% confidence interval [CI], −1.9 to −0.5) in the budesonide group than in the placebo group (P = 0.001) and was 0.2 cm lower (95% CI, −0.9 to 0.5) in the nedocromil group than in the placebo group (P = 0.61). A larger daily dose of inhaled glucocorticoid in the first 2 years was associated with a lower adult height (−0.1 cm for each microgram per kilogram of body weight) (P = 0.007). The reduction in adult height in the budesonide group as compared with the placebo group was similar to that seen after 2 years of treatment (−1.3 cm; 95% CI, −1.7 to −0.9). During the first 2 years, decreased growth velocity in the budesonide group occurred primarily in prepubertal participants.
The initial decrease in attained height associated with the use of inhaled glucocorticoids in prepubertal children persisted as a reduction in adult height, although the decrease was not progressive or cumulative.
Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). The genetics of asthma have been widely studied in mouse and human, and homologous genomic regions have been associated with mouse AHR and human asthma-related phenotypes. Our goal was to identify asthma-related genes by integrating AHR associations in mouse with human genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. We used Efficient Mixed Model Association (EMMA) analysis to conduct a GWAS of baseline AHR measures from males and females of 31 mouse strains. Genes near or containing SNPs with EMMA p-values <0.001 were selected for further study in human GWAS. The results of the previously reported EVE consortium asthma GWAS meta-analysis consisting of 12,958 diverse North American subjects from 9 study centers were used to select a subset of homologous genes with evidence of association with asthma in humans. Following validation attempts in three human asthma GWAS (i.e., Sepracor/LOCCS/LODO/Illumina, GABRIEL, DAG) and two human AHR GWAS (i.e., SHARP, DAG), the Kv channel interacting protein 4 (KCNIP4) gene was identified as nominally associated with both asthma and AHR at a gene- and SNP-level. In EVE, the smallest KCNIP4 association was at rs6833065 (P-value 2.9e-04), while the strongest associations for Sepracor/LOCCS/LODO/Illumina, GABRIEL, DAG were 1.5e-03, 1.0e-03, 3.1e-03 at rs7664617, rs4697177, rs4696975, respectively. At a SNP level, the strongest association across all asthma GWAS was at rs4697177 (P-value 1.1e-04). The smallest P-values for association with AHR were 2.3e-03 at rs11947661 in SHARP and 2.1e-03 at rs402802 in DAG. Functional studies are required to validate the potential involvement of KCNIP4 in modulating asthma susceptibility and/or AHR. Our results suggest that a useful approach to identify genes associated with human asthma is to leverage mouse AHR association data.
Information comparing subjective and objective measurements of adherence to study medications and the effects of adherence on treatment-related differences in asthma clinical trials are limited.
We sought to compare subjective and objective measurements of children’s adherence to inhaled corticosteroids or placebo and to determine whether adherence to study medications modified treatment-related differences in outcomes.
In an ancillary study conducted in 3 of 8 Childhood Asthma Management Program Clinical Centers, adherence was assessed by using self-reported and objective data in 5- to 12-year-old children with mild or moderate asthma who were randomly assigned to 200 μg of inhaled budesonide twice per day (n = 84) or placebo (n = 56) for 4 years. The κ statistic was used to evaluate agreement between self-reported adherence (daily diary cards) and objectively measured adherence (number of doses left in study inhalers). Multivariable analyses were used to determine whether adherence to study treatment modified treatment-related differences in outcomes.
Adherence of less than 80% was seen in 75% of 140 children when adherence was measured objectively but only in 6% of children when measured by means of self-report. There was poor agreement between objective and subjective measurements of adherence of at least 80% (κ = 0.00; 95% CI, −0.05 to 0.04); self-reported adherence over the 4-year period generally overestimated objectively measured adherence (93.6% vs 60.8%, P < .0001). There was little evidence to indicate that adherence modified treatment-related differences in outcomes.
Researchers should use objective rather than self-reported adherence data to identify clinical trial participants with low levels of adherence to study treatment.
Asthma; adherence; compliance; children; lung growth; inhaled corticosteroids; budesonide; clinical trial
The effect on linear growth of daily long-term inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy in preschool-aged children with recurrent wheezing is controversial.
To determine the effect of daily ICS given for 2 years on linear growth in preschool children with recurrent wheezing.
Children ages 2 and 3 years with recurrent wheezing and positive modified asthma predictive indices were randomized to a two-year treatment period of fluticasone propionate CFC (176 mcg/day) or masked-placebo delivered by valved chamber with mask and then followed 2 years off study medication. Height growth determined by stadiometry was compared between treatment groups.
In the study cohort as a whole, the fluticasone group did not have significantly less linear growth than the placebo-group [change in height from baseline difference (ΔHt) of −0.2 cm (95% CI, −1.1, 0.6)] two years after discontinuation of study treatment. In post-hoc analyses, children 2 years old and who weighed < 15 kg at enrollment treated with fluticasone had less linear growth compared to placebo [ΔHt of −1.6 cm (95% CI, −2.8, −0.4), p=0.009].
Linear growth was not significantly different in high-risk, recurrent wheezing preschool age children treated with CFC fluticasone 176 mcg/day compared to placebo 2 years after fluticasone is discontinued. However, post-hoc subgroup analyses revealed that children who are younger in age and of lesser weight relative to the entire study cohort had significantly less linear growth, possibly due to a higher relative fluticasone exposure.
Asthma predictive index; atopy; clinical trials; early childhood asthma; fluticasone; inhaled corticosteroids; intermittent wheezing; linear growth; research network
Although nocturnal awakenings help categorize asthma severity and control, their clinical significance has not been thoroughly studied.
To determine the clinical consequences of nocturnal asthma symptom(s) requiring albuterol in children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma outside of periods when oral corticosteroids were used for worsening asthma symptoms.
285 children ages 6 to 14 years with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma were randomized to receive one of three controller regimens and completed daily symptom diaries for 48 weeks. Diary responses were analyzed for the frequency and consequences of nocturnal asthma symptoms requiring albuterol.
Nocturnal asthma symptoms requiring albuterol occurred in 72.2% of participants at least once and in 24.3% ≥13 times. 81.3% of nocturnal symptoms occurred outside of exacerbation periods and were associated the next day with the following events: albuterol use (56.9% of days preceded by nocturnal symptoms versus 18.1% of days not preceded by nocturnal symptoms, Relative Risk (RR) 2.3, 95%CI: 2.2,2.4), school absence (5.0% versus 0.3%, RR 10.6, 95%CI: 7.8,14.4), and doctor contact (3.7% versus 0.2%, RR 8.8, 95%CI:6.1,12.5). Similar findings were noted during exacerbation periods (RR 1.7 for albuterol use, 5.5 for school absence, and 4.9 for doctor contact). Nocturnal symptoms did not predict the onset of exacerbations.
Nocturnal symptoms requiring albuterol in children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma receiving controller therapy occurred predominantly outside of exacerbation periods. Despite being poor predictors of exacerbations, they were associated with increases in albuterol use, school absences, and doctor contacts the day after nocturnal symptom occurrences.
asthma; nocturnal symptoms; exacerbation
Patients with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma account for substantial asthma morbidity, mortality, and healthcare burden despite comprising only a small proportion of the total asthma population. TENOR, a multicenter, observational, prospective cohort study was initiated in 2001. It enrolled 4,756 adults, adolescents and children with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma who were followed semi-annually and annually for three years, enabling insight to be gained into this understudied population. A broad range of demographic, clinical, and patient self-reported assessments were completed during the follow-up period. Here, we present key findings from the TENOR registry in relation to asthma control and exacerbations, including the identification of specific subgroups found to be at particularly high-risk. Identification of the factors and subgroups associated with poor asthma control and increased risk of exacerbations can help physicians design individual asthma management, and improve asthma-related health outcomes for these patients.
Severe asthma; Difficult-to-treat asthma; Asthma control; Exacerbation
Bronchodilator response (BDR) is an important asthma phenotype that measures reversibility of airway obstruction by comparing lung function (i.e. FEV1) before and after the administration of a short-acting β2-agonist, the most common rescue medications used for the treatment of asthma. BDR also serves as a test of β2-agonist efficacy. BDR is a complex trait that is partly under genetic control. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BDR, quantified as percent change in baseline FEV1 after administration of a β2-agonist, was performed with 1,644 non-Hispanic white asthmatic subjects from six drug clinical trials: CAMP, LOCCS, LODO, a medication trial conducted by Sepracor, CARE, and ACRN. Data for 469,884 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were used to measure the association of SNPs with BDR using a linear regression model, while adjusting for age, sex, and height. Replication of primary P-values was attempted in 501 white subjects from SARP and 550 white subjects from DAG. Experimental evidence supporting the top gene was obtained via siRNA knockdown and Western blotting analyses. The lowest overall combined P-value was 9.7E-07 for SNP rs295137, near the SPATS2L gene. Among subjects in the primary analysis, those with rs295137 TT genotype had a median BDR of 16.0 (IQR = [6.2, 32.4]), while those with CC or TC genotypes had a median BDR of 10.9 (IQR = [5.0, 22.2]). SPATS2L mRNA knockdown resulted in increased β2-adrenergic receptor levels. Our results suggest that SPATS2L may be an important regulator of β2-adrenergic receptor down-regulation and that there is promise in gaining a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of differential response to β2-agonists through GWAS.
Bronchodilator response (BDR) is an important asthma phenotype that measures reversibility of airway obstruction by comparing lung function before and after the administration of short-acting β2-agonists, common medications used for asthma treatment. We performed a genome-wide association study of BDR with 1,644 white asthmatic subjects from six drug clinical trials and attempted to replicate these findings in 1,051 white subjects from two independent cohorts. The most significant associated variant was near the SPATS2L gene. We knocked down SPATS2L mRNA in human airway smooth muscle cells and found that β2-adrenergic receptor levels increased, suggesting that SPATS2L may be a regulator of BDR. Our results highlight the promise of pursuing GWAS results that do not necessarily reach genome-wide significance and are an example of how results from pharmacogenetic GWAS can be studied functionally.
Daily inhaled glucocorticoids are recommended for young children at risk for asthma exacerbations, as indicated by a positive value on the modified asthma predictive index (API) and an exacerbation in the preceding year, but concern remains about daily adherence and effects on growth. We compared daily therapy with intermittent therapy.
We studied 278 children between the ages of 12 and 53 months who had positive values on the modified API, recurrent wheezing episodes, and at least one exacerbation in the previous year but a low degree of impairment. Children were randomly assigned to receive a budesonide inhalation suspension for 1 year as either an intermittent high-dose regimen (1 mg twice daily for 7 days, starting early during a predefined respiratory tract illness) or a daily low-dose regimen (0.5 mg nightly) with corresponding placebos. The primary outcome was the frequency of exacerbations requiring oral glucocorticoid therapy.
The daily regimen of budesonide did not differ significantly from the intermittent regimen with respect to the frequency of exacerbations, with a rate per patient-year for the daily regimen of 0.97 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76 to 1.22) versus a rate of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.75 to 1.20) for the intermittent regimen (relative rate in the intermittent-regimen group, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.71 to 1.35; P=0.60). There were also no significant between-group differences in several other measures of asthma severity, including the time to the first exacerbation, or adverse events. The mean exposure to budesonide was 104 mg less with the intermittent regimen than with the daily regimen.
A daily low-dose regimen of budesonide was not superior to an intermittent high-dose regimen in reducing asthma exacerbations. Daily administration led to greater exposure to the drug at 1 year.
Cost-effectiveness analyses of asthma controller regimens for adults exist, but similar evaluations exclusively for children are few.
To compare the cost-effectiveness of two commonly used asthma controllers, fluticasone and montelukast, with data from the Pediatric Asthma Controller Trial.
We compared the cost-effectiveness of low-dose fluticasone with montelukast in a randomized controlled multi-center clinical trial in children with mild-moderate persistent asthma. Analyses were also conducted on subgroups based on phenotypic factors. Effectiveness measures included a) the number of asthma-control days, b) the percentage of participants with an increase over baseline of FEV1≥12%, and c) the number of exacerbations avoided. Costs were analyzed from both a US health care payer's perspective and a societal perspective.
For all cost-effectiveness measures studied, fluticasone cost less and was more effective than montelukast; e.g., fluticasone treatment cost $430 less in mean direct cost (P<0.01) and had 40 more asthma control days (P<0.01) during the 48 week study period. Considering sampling uncertainty, fluticasone cost less and was more effective at least 95% of the time. For the high eNO phenotypic subgroup (eNO≥25ppb) and more responsive PC20 subgroup (PC20<2 mg/mL), fluticasone was cost-effective compared with montelukast for all cost-effectiveness measures; whereas not all the effectiveness measures were statistically different for the other two phenotypic subgroups.
For children with mild-moderate persistent asthma, low dose fluticasone had lower cost and higher effectiveness compared with montelukast, especially in those with more airway inflammation as indicated by elevated levels of eNO and more responsivity to methacholine.
Cost-effectiveness analysis; childhood asthma; fluticasone; montelukast; PACT
A subset of children with asthma respond better to leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA) than to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Information is needed to identify children with these preferential responses.
To determine whether the ratio of urinary leukotriene E4 to fractional exhaled nitric oxide (LTE4: FENO) delineates children with preferential responsiveness to montelukast (MT) compared to fluticasone propionate (FP) therapy.
Data from 318 children with mild to moderate asthma enrolled in 2 NHLBI CARE network studies (CLIC and PACT) were analyzed. The association between LTE4: FENO ratios at baseline and improved lung function or asthma control days (ACDs) with MT and FP therapy was determined and phenotypic characteristics related to high ratios was assessed.
LTE4: FENO ratios were associated with a greater response to MT than FP therapy for forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) measurements (2.1% increase per doubling of ratio, p=0.001) and for ACDs per week (0.3 increase, p= 0.009) in the CLIC study. In PACT, the ratio was associated with greater FEV1 responsiveness to MT than FP therapy (0.6% increase, p= 0.03). In a combined study analysis, LTE4: FENO ratios were associated with greater response to MT than FP therapy for FEV1 (0.8% increase, p=0.0005) and ACDs (0.3 increase, p=0.008). Children with LTE4: FENO ratios at or above the 75th percentile were likely (p<0.05) to be younger, female and exhibit lower levels of atopic markers and methacholine reactivity.
LTE4: FENO ratios predict a better response to MT than FP therapy in children with mild to moderate asthma.
In children with mild to moderate asthma, the LTE4: FENO ratio is associated with a better response to montelukast compared to fluticasone therapy.
Data from 318 children with mild to moderate asthma enrolled in 2 NHLBI network studies (CLIC and PACT) were analyzed. Urinary LTE4: FENO ratios predicted a better response to MT than FP therapy.
asthma; biomarkers; fluticasone propionate; inhaled corticosteroids; leukotriene E4; montelukast
Few studies have examined the effects of in utero smoke exposure (IUS) on lung function in children with asthma, and there are no published data on the impact of IUS on treatment outcomes in asthmatic children.
To explore whether IUS exposure is associated with increased airway responsiveness among children with asthma, and whether IUS modifies the response to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).
To assess the impact of parent-reported IUS exposure on airway responsiveness in childhood asthma we performed a repeated-measures analysis of methacholine PC20 data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP), a four-year, multicenter, randomized double masked placebo controlled trial of 1041 children ages 5–12 comparing the long term efficacy of ICS with mast cell stabilizing agents or placebo.
Although improvement was seen in both groups, asthmatic children with IUS exposure had on average 26% less of an improvement in airway responsiveness over time compared to unexposed children (p=.01). Moreover, while children who were not exposed to IUS who received budesonide experienced substantial improvement in PC20 compared to untreated children (1.25 fold-increase, 95% CI 1.03, 1.50, p=.02) the beneficial effects of budesonide were attenuated among children with a history of IUS exposure (1.04 fold-increase, 95% CI 0.65, 1.68, p=.88).
IUS reduces age-related improvements in airway responsiveness among asthmatic children. Moreover, IUS appears to blunt the beneficial effects of ICS use on airways responsiveness. These results emphasize the importance of preventing this exposure through smoking cessation counseling efforts with pregnant women.
asthma; in utero smoke exposure; airway responsiveness; inhaled corticosteroids
Asthma exacerbations, most often due to respiratory tract infections, are the leading causes of asthma morbidity and comprise a significant proportion of asthma-related costs. Vitamin D status may play a role in preventing asthma exacerbations.
To assess the relationship between serum vitamin D levels and subsequent severe asthma exacerbations.
We measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels in serum collected from 1,024 mild to moderate persistent asthmatic children at the time of enrollment in a multi-center clinical trial of children randomized to receiving budesonide, nedocromil, or placebo (as-needed beta-agonists), the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Using multivariable modeling we examined the relationship between baseline vitamin D level and the odds of any hospitalization or emergency department (ED) visit over the 4 years of the trial.
35% of all subjects were vitamin D insufficient, as defined by a level ≤ 30 ng/ml 25(OH)D. Mean vitamin D levels were lowest in African-American subjects, and highest in whites. After adjusting for age, sex, BMI, income, and treatment group, insufficient vitamin D status was associated with a higher odds of any hospitalization or ED visit (odds ratio [OR] 1.5 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1 – 1.9] P =0.01).
Vitamin D insufficiency is common in this population of North American children with mild to moderate persistent asthma, and is associated with higher odds of severe exacerbation over a four year period.
Asthma; Vitamin D; inhaled corticosteroids; asthma exacerbations
To examine parent-observed signs and symptoms as antecedents of wheezing in preschool children with prior moderate to severe wheezing episodes, as well as to determine the predictive capacity of these symptom patterns for wheezing events.
Parents (n = 238 ) of children 12–59 months of age with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing enrolled in a year-long clinical trial completed surveys that captured signs and symptoms at the start of respiratory tract illnesses. Sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value, and positive predictive values for each symptom leading to wheezing during that respiratory tract illness were calculated.
The most commonly reported first symptom categories during the first respiratory tract illness were “nose symptoms” (41%), “significant cough” (29%), and “insignificant cough” (13%). The most reliable predictor of subsequent wheezing was “significant cough”, which had specificity of 78% and positive predictive value of 74% for predicting wheezing.
“Significant cough” is the most reliable antecedent of wheezing during a respiratory tract illness. It may be useful to consider individualized symptom patterns as a component of management plans intended to minimize wheezing episodes.
The course of mild to moderate persistent asthma in children is not clearly established.
To determine the rate and predictors for remitting, periodic, and persistent asthma in adolescence.
The Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) was a 4.3-year randomized, double-masked, multicenter trial in children with mild to moderate persistent asthma that compared continuous therapy with either budesonide or nedocromil, each to placebo, followed by 4 years observational follow-up period. Asthma activity during the observation period included remitting (no asthma activity in the last year), persistent (asthma activity in every quarter), and periodic asthma (neither remitting nor persistent).
Asthma was identified as remitting in 6%, periodic in 39%, and persistent in 55% of the 909 participants, with no effect noted from earlier anti-inflammatory treatment during the CAMP trial. Within all three asthma activity categories, improvements in airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophilia, and asthma morbidity were observed over time. Features at entry into CAMP associated with remitting vs. persistent asthma were lack of allergen sensitization and exposure to indoor allergens [OR=3.23, p<0.001], milder asthma [OR=2.01, p=0.03], older age [OR=1.23, p=0.01], less airway hyperresponsiveness (higher log methacholine FEV1 PC20 [OR=1.39, p=0.03]), higher pre-bronchodilator FEV1 % predicted [OR=1.05, p=0.02], and lower FVC % predicted [OR=0.96, p=0.04].
Remission of asthma in adolescence is infrequent and not impacted by 4 years of anti-inflammatory controller therapy. Factors such as sensitization and exposure, low lung function, and airway greater hyperresponsiveness decrease the likelihood of remitting asthma.
Remission; Natural history; Persistent asthma
Asthma exacerbations are a common cause of critical illness in children.
To determine factors associated with exacerbations in children with persistent asthma.
Regression modeling was used to identify historical, phenotypic, treatment, and time-dependent factors associated with the occurrence of exacerbations, defined by need for oral corticosteroids, emergency or hospital care in the 48-week Pediatric Asthma Controller Trial (PACT) study. Children aged 6–14 with mild to moderate persistent asthma were randomized to receive either fluticasone propionate 100 mcg BID (FP monotherapy), combination fluticasone 100 mcg AM and salmeterol BID, or montelukast 5 mg once daily.
Of the 285 participants randomized, 48% had 231 exacerbations. Using a multivariate analysis, which included numerous demographic, pulmonary, and inflammatory parameters, only a history of an asthma exacerbation requiring a systemic corticosteroid in the past year (odds ratio 2.10, p<0.001) was associated with a subsequent exacerbation during the trial. During the trial, treatment with montelukast vs. FP monotherapy (OR 2.00, p=0.005), season (spring, fall, or winter vs. summer, p=<0.001), and average seasonal 5% reduction in AM peak expiratory flow (PEF) (OR 1.21, p=0.01) were each associated with exacerbations. Changes in worsening of symptoms, beta-agonist use, and low PEF track together before an exacerbation, but have poor positive predictive value of exacerbation.
Children with mild to moderate persistent asthma with prior exacerbations are more likely to have a repeat exacerbation despite controller treatment. Inhaled corticosteroids are superior to montelukast at modifying the exacerbation risk. Available physiologic measures and biomarkers, and diary card tracking are not reliable predictors of asthma exacerbations.
Airway inflammation; Asthma; Bronchial hyperresponsiveness; Childhood asthma; Exacerbations
For children who have uncontrolled asthma despite the use of low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), evidence to guide step-up therapy is lacking.
We randomly assigned 182 children (6 to 17 years of age), who had uncontrolled asthma while receiving 100 µg of fluticasone twice daily, to receive each of three blinded step-up therapies in random order for 16 weeks: 250 µg of fluticasone twice daily (ICS step-up), 100 µg of fluticasone plus 50 µg of a long-acting beta-agonist twice daily (LABA step-up), or 100 µg of fluticasone twice daily plus 5 or 10 mg of a leukotriene-receptor antagonist daily (LTRA step-up). We used a triple-crossover design and a composite of three outcomes (exacerbations, asthma-control days, and the forced expiratory volume in 1 second) to determine whether the frequency of a differential response to the step-up regimens was more than 25%.
A differential response occurred in 161 of 165 patients who were evaluated (P<0.001). The response to LABA step-up therapy was most likely to be the best response, as compared with responses to LTRA step-up (relative probability, 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 2.3; P = 0.004) and ICS step-up (relative probability, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.4; P = 0.002). Higher scores on the Asthma Control Test before randomization (indicating better control at baseline) predicted a better response to LABA step-up (P = 0.009). White race predicted a better response to LABA step-up, whereas black patients were least likely to have a best response to LTRA step-up (P = 0.005).
Nearly all the children had a differential response to each step-up therapy. LABA step-up was significantly more likely to provide the best response than either ICS or LTRA step-up. However, many children had a best response to ICS or LTRA step-up therapy, highlighting the need to regularly monitor and appropriately adjust each child’s asthma therapy. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00395304.)
Among asthmatics, bronchodilator response (BDR) to inhaled ß2- adrenergic agonists is variable, and the significance of a consistent response over time is unknown.
We assessed baseline clinical variables and determined the clinical outcomes associated with a consistently positive BDR over 4 years in children with mild-moderate persistent asthma.
In the 1,041 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP), subjects with a change in FEV1 of 12% or greater (and 200mLs) after inhaled ß2 agonist at each of their yearly follow-up visits (consistent BDR) were compared with those who did not have a consistent BDR.
We identified 52 children with consistent BDR over the 4-year trial. Multivariable logistic regression modeling demonstrated that baseline pre-bronchodilator FEV1 (OR=0.71, p<0.0001), log 10 IgE level (OR=1.97, p=0.002), and lack of treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (OR=0.31, p=0.009) were associated with a consistent BDR. Individuals who had a consistent BDR had more hospital visits (p=0.007), required more prednisone bursts (p=0.0007), had increased nocturnal awakenings due to asthma (p<0.0001), and missed more days of school (p=0.03) than non-responders during the 4-year follow-up.
We have identified predictors of consistent BDR and determined that this phenotype is associated with poor clinical outcomes.
asthma; consistent bronchodilator response; outcomes
To determine whether long-term, continuous use of inhaled anti-inflammatory medications affects asthma outcomes in children with mild-moderate asthma after use is discontinued.
Of 1,041 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program randomized clinical trial, 941 (90%) were followed to determine whether 4.3 years of twice daily budesonide or nedocromil (each compared with placebo) affected subsequent asthma outcomes during a 4.8 year post-trial period in which treatment was managed by the participant's physician.
The groups treated continuously during the trial with either budesonide or nedocromil did not differ from placebo in lung function, control of asthma, or psychological status at the end of 4.8 years of post-trial follow-up; however, the decreased mean height in the budesonide group relative to the placebo group at the end of the trial (1.1 cm, P=0.005) remained statistically significant (0.9 cm, P=0.01) after an additional 4.8 years and was more pronounced in girls (1.7 cm; P=0.001) than boys (0.3 cm; P=0.49). Participants used inhaled corticosteroids during 30% of the post-trial period in all groups.
Clinically meaningful improvements in control of asthma and improvements in airway responsiveness achieved during continuous treatment with inhaled corticosteroids do not persist after continuous treatment is discontinued.
Maintenance inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy in preschool children with recurrent wheezing at high-risk for development of asthma produces multiple clinical benefits. However, determination of baseline features associated with ICS responsiveness may identify children most likely to benefit from ICS treatment.
To determine if demographic and atopic features predict response to ICS in preschool children at high-risk for asthma.
Two years of treatment with an ICS, fluticasone propionate (88mcg twice daily), was compared to matching placebo in a double-masked, randomized, multi-center study of 285 two and three year olds at high-risk for asthma development. Baseline demographic and atopic features were related to clinical outcomes in a post-hoc subgroup analysis.
Multivariate analysis demonstrated significantly greater improvement with fluticasone compared to placebo in terms of episode-free days among males, Caucasians, participants with an emergency department (ED) visit or hospitalization within the past year, and those who experienced more symptomatic days at baseline. Children with aeroallergen sensitization experienced greater benefits in terms of oral corticosteroid use, urgent care and ED visits, and use of supplemental controller medications.
More favorable responses to ICS compared to placebo in high-risk preschool children over a 2-year period were more likely in those with a ED visit or hospitalization for asthma within the past year, children with aeroallergen sensitization, males and Caucasians.
A favorable response to ICS compared to placebo in high-risk toddlers over a 2-year period was more likely in children with a prior ED visit or hospitalization for asthma, aeroallergen sensitization, males, and Caucasians.
childhood asthma; inhaled corticosteroids; response
Like obesity, the prevalence of asthma has increased over the past several decades. Accelerated patters of infant growth have been associated with obesity and its co-morbidities. We aimed to determine if infant weight gain pattern is associated with asthma development later in childhood. Birth weight, growth, pulmonary function, and symptom data were collected in a trial of 2–3 year old children at-risk for asthma randomized to a two-year treatment with inhaled corticosteroids or placebo followed by a one year observation period off study medication. Patterns of infant weight gain between birth and study enrollment were categorized as accelerated, average, or decelerated. Regression analyses were used to test the effects of infant weight gain pattern prior to study enrolment on outcomes during the observation year and at study conclusion while adjusting for demographics, baseline symptom severity, study treatment, and atopic indicators. Among the 197 study participants, early life weight gain pattern was not associated with daily asthma symptoms or lung function at the study’s conclusion. However, both prednisone courses (P=.01) and urgent physician visits (P<.001) were significantly associated with weight gain pattern with fewer exacerbations occurring amongst those with a decelerated weight gain pattern. We conclude that early life patterns of weight change were associated with subsequent asthma exacerbations, but were not associated with asthma symptoms or pulmonary function during the preschool years for these children at-risk for asthma.
Asthma; Weight Gain; Infant